We were blessed to be able to award a very special Quilt of Valor Friday, Nov 29th to the husband of one of own CT Quilters. Ginger has been a driving force behind our QOV group and we consider her husband Roger an auxiliary member because he supports and encourages her QOV activities. Word is that he has given up his dining room table on occasion when Ginger is laying out a quilt top!
Roger is a Vietnam veteran, having served in-country on the Cambodia/Laos border, sometimes with a flame thrower and sometimes assisting with spraying Agent Orange, both extremely dangerous duties. While Agent Orange was thought to be a good thing for deforestation at the time, we now know what ravages it can cause. Roger is now being treated by the wonderful medical personnel at the Bay Pines VA Hospital. These are the caring people that understand and respect the service of our Veterans. Roger was in good spirits and was very honored to receive a Quilt of Valor from the group that his wife supports.
Roger is originally from Ohio and served his time in boot camp at Ft Benning, GA. After his 1967-1968 tour in Vietnam, he was at Ft McClellan, AL assisting with training for the 101st Airborne. He had a lot of stories that held us spellbound, including his visits to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, sometimes called “The Wall That Heals”.
He and Ginger recall the reverence with which visitors approach the wall seeking names of friends and relatives, often leaving small memorials and taking etchings of names. This highly polished black granite structure designed by Maya Lin, is unbelievably long with individual names of those 58,000 who died in the conflict. The two ends of the Wall point to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Many come together to mourn there, but they come also to honor those who survived.
Roger also told us a wonderful story about a fairly recent visit that he and Ginger had taken to the Mt Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. He spoke of the glorious evening lighting ceremony put on by the National Park Service and how they invited all veterans in the crowd to come to the front and be recognized and publicly thanked. How inspiring for us all!
Roger also told us about his Vietnam Honor Beads that are a prized possession and when you hear this story, you’ll know why.These items are a tangible ritual developed by Vietnam veterans to honor each other. These beads are in the colors of the Vietnam Service Ribbon (yellow, green and red). Every step in the design and construction of these beads is performed only by Vietnam War vets and only a Vietnam War veteran can award them to another. These are the men and women who served with honor when called and stood by each other in a time of great turmoil. Many Vietnam vets say it is the only time they have been thanked for their service. It is not too late to welcome a Vietnam War veteran home.
One last note from Ginger that I received today:
“Your visit and the presentation of a QOV meant a great deal to us. Roger and I talked about his day this evening. He felt honored to have a QOV. He had tears in his eyes when we were talking. He has told everyone about the experience. [Roger said] …’The QOV ladies are a very special group. Thank you for your work for the Veterans’.
[Ginger] …And I also want to thank you for your visit and the quilt. He has it over him now.”
Roger, we so very much appreciate your service to the Nation. We have a great deal of respect and honor for you and your fellow veterans. Thank you so much for allowing us to visit and present you with a healing and comforting Quilt of Valor.