Lt. Commander Vidal Valentin, commanding officer of navy Operational Support Center Toledo, warned local veterans and members of the East Toledo Club to be careful not to “dote” too much on our returning soldiers from Afghanistan for fear of creating another “victim” class.
Valentin made his comments at the 81st annual flag raising and free breakfast provided by the club on Memorial Day to remember the sacrifice of our soldiers. This year’s event was held at the Christ Dunberger Post in Oregon.
Valentin told the crowd of approximately 60 to 70 that the primary mission of the soldier is “war fighting” to protect our country. He said a soldier should always be ready to answer the call. “You should not feel sorry for us. By doing so, you take away our pride and honor. Do not feel sorry for us. That’s what we do. It’s our calling. The soldier goes to war because that’s his job…And, that includes the possibility of being sacrificed on the altar of freedom.”
|Waite High School junior Patrick Ridley, Jr. plays Taps while Ohio State Senator dna BRown, State Rep.
Mike Sheehy and honor guard members of the Christ Dunberger Post pay their respects to our fallen
heroes. (Press photo)
Valentin said our country has come a long way from how we treated returning soldiers from Vietnam and how we treat our returning soldiers from our most recent wars. He said the despicable way we treated the Vietnam vet “left a scar on our society.” Since then, we have learned how to “separate the soldier from the politician and policy.”
That’s good news. Saying, “Thanks for your service,” to a vet is welcome, but when we “dote” too much on our soldiers we run the risk of turning the soldier into a victim.
Valentin celebrated his 25th year in the service May 25. He is a New York City native, received his BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico and served in the Puerto Rico Air National Guard for seven years. He attended Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida.
He has served on a number of ships and was stationed for two years in Bogota, Columbia where he provided support for visits for U.S. Naval Forces and Homeland Security representatives. He also provided support for several counter-drug operations for the Columbian Navy.
The ceremony included the presenting of the colors by the Dunberger Post Honor Guard and the playing of Taps by Waite High School Junior Patrick Ridley, Jr.
Ohio State Senator Edna Brown and State Representative Mike Sheehy attended and briefly spoke.
Sen. Brown said, While we can honor them (our fallen soldiers) we can’t repay them, we can only pay it forward.”
Rep Sheehy, who served as a Lieutenant in the United States Army during the Vietnam era, said, “These are the things I think about today—duty, honor, country.”