VIC: This is a very difficult time for a special section.
Coming up at the end of May is our annual Veterans’ Tribute Section. That makes my deadline May 8.
In this “trying times”, as all the TV ads say, I’m not really sure how I’m going to write a veterans’ section. I don’t want to interview veterans - at least, not in person. The Coronavirus will not be over by mid-May - South Carolina’s “peak” was expected to be April 27 - May 6th - by then, enough people will have built up sufficient immunities so cases will not rise so dramatically any more. At least, that’s what the “experts” say (now they’re saying the peak was April 9). Still, even on the down-slope, COVID-19 will be potentially deadly. To Seniors, sure, but there are plenty of stories out there about healthy 38-year-olds dying, and hard-working healthcare professionals found dead on their apartment floors. Nobody - especially me - wants to carry a questionable immune system into an assisted living community.
So, if you know a veteran, send me something. A photo of a shadowbox of medals and discharge papers. A Hall of Heroes biography. A first-hand account, or a letter from the battlefield. DO NOT send treasured, family heirlooms. Make a copy - scan and e-mail - something, please.
I don’t have a problem talking to Veterans on the phone (my best days are Wednesdays and Thursdays) - I don’t have a problem crafting a story from e-mailed comments, or question-and-answer. And, maybe, this thing will be gone sooner than later, but I’m not sure I want to count on that. Living veterans are best - we don’t have a problem crafting a posthumous article, also.
Pictures, especially those on bases or in uniform, are great for this special section. If you send copies of these, be sure I can tell name, place and branch of service for the veteran you want to honor. Assisted living communities, certainly, can send group photos of their veterans. One of the coolest things to receive-publish is a “back then” photo along side a “right now” photo.
Saying this, I really hate to be a worry-wart. Our nation’s veterans have stared down the face of some things much uglier than this virus (though, “more deadly”? I’m not sure). They have performed heroically - many are heroes right now in their little corners of the world. Others are waiting out what time they have left on this world - still others are learning how to live with their new arms and legs. All - all, I emphasize - deserve our respect and an appreciation that we can never fully express. Their legacies live on. Thank You.
(Vic MacDonald, from the Vietnam Era, is editor of The Clinton Chronicle. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle. MacDonald can be reached at 833-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org -- Send submissions for the 2020 Salute to Veterans to this address, or The Chronicle, P.O. Box 180, Clinton, SC 29325.)