Memorial Committee Deserves Thanks

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Editor:

It seems there are a few veterans in Payson who are confused and as a result offended enough to write you letters in lieu of seeking the facts.

First, Jack Sheahan writes that the Military Order of the Purple Heart veterans are angry they did not receive proper recognition when the Payson Veterans Committee recognized the 28 memorial benefactors who collectively contributed the $55,000 to build it.

There was no snub because the Purple Heart Veterans were not among the benefactors who donated $1,000 to $10,000 for the memorial's bricks, mortar, plaques etc.

Mr. Sheahan then takes credit for being the "driving force" behind the memorial. The reality is that the original committee, chaired by Mr. Sheahan, had not progressed beyond a vague concept until Sherman Alston took over the chairmanship. Sherman used the successful Vietnam Traveling Wall event in May of 2000 to galvanize the committee, launching their efforts forward, and the rest is history.

Next, Lois Kauffman writes that the committee owes an apology to the nurses of the Armed Forces for the "inexcusable oversight" of not mentioning them. If that is the case then the Seabees, glider pilots, Navy frogmen, and Rosie the Riveter must also be offended and deserving of an apology.

Mrs. Kaufman, please go back down to the memorial and open your eyes. I would then suggest you read the dedication plaque at the memorial. The last sentence reads "God bless and keep these beloved sons and daughters."

Then at last, please check out each of the war plaques. You will find each has verbiage like "honoring all veterans" or "in memory of the young individuals who went to war." While the memorial honors all veterans, including nurses, of every branch of the services, it is built around Arizona veterans who gave their lives for our nation in the wars of the 20th Century. Their names are listed on the plaques and, Thank you for your service, Mr. Sheahan and Mrs. Kauffman, from a grateful nation. But please, instead of self-serving righteous indignation, I believe the Payson Veterans Memorial Committee and especially their chairman, Sherman Alston, deserve our thanks for a job well done in creating the finest Veterans Memorial in the state of Arizona.

George H. Coleman, Sr.

Payson

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