Editorial: Saluting our military

July 25, 2014 Editorial Staff
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Among the key components of America’s military might are the devotion and professionalism of this country’s service men and women, who volunteer to go into harm’s way in support of the United States and the freedom it represents.

All too often, as they have served in war zones, those same service men and women have been grievously injured. Too many have died in the line of duty; many more have returned home to face physical and emotional challenges that are incomprehensible to those of us who have never been in their position.

It was for them that the Wounded Warriors Project was founded over a decade ago when veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, some with life-altering injuries, were encountering difficulties transitioning back into civilian life.

What began as a grass-roots effort by a handful of veterans and friends to supply returning veterans with what are described on the group’s home page as “comfort items” has grown, over the years, into a national organization with far loftier goals – helping those who need it with both physical and emotional recovery.

And, there are many in need. According to the Wounded Warriors Project, approximately 50,000 people have been wounded in recent conflicts – some incredibly seriously as many previously fatal injuries are now survivable — and as many as 400,000 veterans are currently living in this country with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Today, projects like the annual Soldier Ride, which passed through Bay Ridge on July 17, help bring awareness to this, as well as raise money to provide rehabilitation services.

The project – which to date has served upwards of 50,000 former members of the military — is a phenomenally worthwhile one, and we salute it, those who participate and, most of all, those whom it serves.

And, it’s not just those who are injured who deserve our thanks and appreciation. Our thanks go out to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces – active, retired, reserve – for their devotion and commitment to this country, its people and its ideals.

Having a military base in our backyard – Fort Hamilton, the only active military installation in the city of New York – brings this home to us on nearly a daily basis. But, we believe, it’s an awareness that everybody living in this country should share.

To learn more about the efforts to help returning veterans, and to do your part for Wounded Warriors, go to woundedwarriorproject.org.

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