Editorial: Real support for troops in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

Editorial: Real support for troops in Eagle County

Scott N. Miller
Vail Daily Editorial Board

From the most dovish doves to the most hard-line hawks, virtually everyone will say they “support the troops” who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last week, a group of local school children showed us all how it’s really done.

A group of injured war veterans flew into the Eagle County Regional Airport Wednesday. It was the latest group to participate in the Vail Veterans Program, which provides winter or summer vacations to those who have been badly injured in combat. The program is free for those who participate.

The adults who run the nonprofit veterans program deserve our praise, too, but the winter groups have also been met by a throng of students, usually from Gypsum Elementary School.

The kids take a little time from class to sing patriotic songs to the vets. They also get letters, posters and other trinkets from the kids.

Most of these veterans are coming to the Valley straight from a military hospital or rehabilitation center. Many are clearly overwhelmed by the welcome they get to Eagle County. And, given the small number of participants on any given trip, there are usually multiple kids for every veteran.

The exchanges we’ve seen include some blunt questions:

“How did you lose your hand?”

“Is it hard to walk with a plastic leg?”

The veterans are generally equally as forthright in their answers. It’s a close-up look for the kids at what war can do. More important, though, it’s a close-up look at the people who volunteer to fight, and, if necessary, sustain life-changing injuries for, their country.

Local parents should be proud of the reception these veterans get from our kids. No matter how you feel about our country’s current wars, welcoming our soldiers with arms this open is a good thing.

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