America's veterans received a special tribute March 6 at the Silver Lake Center in Dover.
Only about 20 percent of the men and women who serve in the United States military make a career out of their service.
The rest return home, put away their uniforms and medals, and make their lives in the civilian world. But although they may not talk about it, many look back upon their military service with pride.
Linda Goodnight of Silver Lake Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Dover, wants to make sure all veterans honored for the time they served.
“We want to make them feel a little more special, not forgotten,” Goodnight said. “They should be recognized for the fact they served our country or that they’ve seen combat.”
With that in mind, the Silver Lake Center on Thursday unveiled its “We Honor Our Veterans” Wall, complete with the playing of Reveille and the National Anthem.
“It’s important for them to know they’re appreciated for their service,” said James M. Adams, senior nursing home administrator and a U.S. Coast Guard retiree. “They’re all proud of their service, and we’re proud of them.”
All seven of the center’s resident veterans were at the ceremony.
“I’m very honored,” said U.S. Air Force veteran James Ratcliffe as he prepared for the unveiling. Ratcliff was a crew member on B-29 Superfortress aircraft during the Korean War.
The special wall is just one way of recognizing a veteran’s military service, Goodnight said. Each former service member has a special plaque next to their apartment door and Goodnight has made it her personal mission to ensure vets and their families learn about government benefits due them.
Those benefits sometimes can mean the difference between bare subsistence or a relatively trouble-free existence for the aging warriors, she said.
“We can help them find what they need and many are eligible for benefits from their spouses who served,” Goodnight said. “There are benefits out there that a lot of people don’t know about.”