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Childlike closings

Published: Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

There is no understating this; they saved the free world.

Seven decades ago, America pulled together. Thanks to the collective efforts, freedom won.

Reflecting on these efforts, the closing of the memorials in Washington, D.C., stands as a particularly childlike stunt. It is an enormous act of disrespect to our veterans and for our collective history.

Having participated in several trips with Honor Flight over the past four years, I need to share a thought. As the buses come into view of the World War II memorial, the veterans lean like 90-year-old children, looking out the windows of the bus. It’s like Christmas morning. They suddenly act like the young people they once were, and, in so many ways, still are.

Then the magnitude of their seven-decades wait for this moment sinks in. As they think about their comrades who died, the tears start.

As they walk with each other and open up, many for the first time in their lives, as one story after another is whispered and shared and honored at the memorial built to honor all those who served in WWII.

They are without a doubt some of the finest men and women that I have ever met. And, there is no way a barrier can stop them.

It is a very humbling experience to share these experiences with members of the greatest generation. It is hard to imagine anyone ever agreeing to close the monuments and memorials built of, by and for the people.

Steve Schwertfeger

Crystal Lake

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