Letter: A cemetery for all soldiers

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

I was heartened by David Brooks’s article (Sunday Monitor front page, May 27) regarding the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery guidelines.

Many years ago I inquired at the cemetery about being buried there, but because I served in the National Guard I was not allowed to be interred there. At the time, I wrote to Sen. Kelly Ayotte (whose husband served in active military service) regarding this, and her response was to verify that federal standards did not allow non-combat troops to be labeled “veterans.” I took the same oath every enlisted person takes, served six years in 197th Artillery Battery C out of Franklin in the early 1960s (Vietnam War era) and was honorably discharged. Just because I was not shot does not disqualify me as a veteran.

Not everyone serves on the battlefield, but if you sign up voluntarily to serve your country and do it honorably, you deserve the same privileges and respect that combat veterans get. (Are you listening, Home Depot?)

My grandson served four years in the Marines recently, all of it served in this country, yet he is considered a veteran everywhere he goes. At the time, I felt belittled and less than other soldiers, but I am glad to see that this unfair practice is being looked at and hopefully changed for all veterans.

I am looking forward to something changing there. The cemetery is a place of respect and dignity, something every soldier deserves, whether combat or non-combat.