• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Midway library honoring veterans with its display

Military hats, caps and helmets on display this month at the Midway Branch Library are each a reminder of the service and sacrifice made by veterans.

The display recognizes their military service and informs library patrons – especially young people – about why this country has a Veterans’ Day each year, according to the library’s Suzanne Conrad.

Versailles resident Jeremy Emerson’s patrol cap from his deployment to Afghanistan is among the reminders of war at the Midway Branch Library. The Army vet wants other people to see what he and other soldiers wear in service to their country because each article of clothing tells “a story.”

Local veterans and their loved ones were contacted and asked to participate in this military display of hats, caps and helmets located on shelves behind the library’s information desk. “It’s an effort by the community to recognize the importance of Veterans’ Day … for veterans and their families,” said Jim Shane, a 28-year veteran of the United States Army.

The Vietnam War vet said each hat, cap or helmet represents a time in a serviceman or woman’s life as well as being a reminder of how their headgear has changed though the years, with each military conflict or war.

Caps belonging to Sue Dozier’s husband, Sherman, a United States Air Force veteran, who grew up in Versailles, and a cap from her father O. R. Whitlow, who served in the Army during World War II, are on display at the Midway library.

“I was delighted to have them on display,” said Dozier, who lives in Versailles, “because I think it’s important that we don’t forget. We owe so much to these men who have served.”

Emerson, who has been in counseling since coming home, views being able to display his cap from Afghanistan as a type of therapy. “When I got back in 2012,” he explained, “I felt like the war never stopped … Because what I saw over there I started seeing in the United States – terrorist attacks…”

Drafted into the Army and working his way up to becoming a brigadier general, Shane said he often tells anyone who asks, “I never wanted the Army, but the Army wanted me.” Now, he realizes being in the military “was a good place – for me.”

Shane said the willingness of today’s young men and women to serve their country in the armed forces “really reaffirms your faith in America and its future.”

Dozier described her husband, who lives at The Homeplace at Midway, as a great patriot who always looked up to those who served in World War II. “So it’s just really important to me that we remember,” she said.

Letters were written by first-graders to thank veterans for their service in conjunction with “A Salute to Veterans” at the Midway Branch Library on Veterans’ Day, Saturday, Nov. 11.

Adjacent to the Midway Branch Library’s military display of hats, caps and helmets is “America’s White Table,” which honors this country’s prisoners of war and those missing in action, beginning with the Vietnam era. Through his work as chair of Midway’s Veterans’ Memorial Committee, Emerson said he’s learned that seven Midway residents were POWs.

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