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Oh boy this is a can of worms, where do I begin?  american-flag-2a

So my husbands hometown is building a “Veteran’s Memorial” which is to be dedicated this coming Memorial Day.  Most of the materials and labor are being donated by local businesses, not so unusual and very patriotic and generous of them; this is not meant to be a criticism of them in any way shape of form.  There is apparently going to be some kind of stone, probably granite or marble which will have all of the Veterans from the town’s names engraved upon it.  The one caveat being that to have the Veteran’s name engraved the Veteran or their family must pay a FEE of $200!

How is this honoring the Veteran? Didn’t they already earn their place through honorable service and self-sacrifice? This isn’t honoring them it is asking them for money to have their name engraved on the monument, schemes like this are often referred to as “pay to play”.

The excuse being given for this “fee” that they are calling it is future flag and monument maintainance.  Ok fair enough maintainance is going to be necessary but there are other ways to handle this.  It’s called figuring out the amount needed for the perpetual fund then finding ways to raise those funds that aren’t counter to the point of the monument!

Whomever thought of the brilliant idea that you charge the Veteran themselves or their families to have their name on the monument obviously knows nothing about what they are doing.  I wish I knew the name of the genius, or possibly it was a committee of cerebral giants that came up with the charge the Vets themselves scheme?

I am not going to get into fundraising 101 here but there are probably a million ways that they could have handled this better like say selling names on bricks of DONORS, or possibly doing a little research and finding out how many Veterans actually came from Duchesne and should be honored.  If they actually did their research and had a number then they could raise x amount of money.

Duchesne is a small town in rural Eastern Utah, the people who live there are mostly very Patriotic and genuinely are proud of their fellow citizens who made the sacrifice to serve.  It is very difficult for me to believe that there isn’t a club at the High School, or a Boy Scout who could have taken on fundraising for their Eagle Project to come up with the funds needed.  They probably could have even found a local business to match what they raised, or done an online Kickstarter Project!  There are literally SO many ways to raise money that aren’t so tawdry as to ask those who you claim to be honoring to ante up or their name stays off!

This hits home for us and becomes and even more complicated situation.  You see there are three Veterans who all honorably served whose names should be on that monument.  Three that I am aware of there could be more, that is a question for a family historian to answer.  That is asking one family to ante up $600 to have their Vets honored, families who already made sacrifices.

My MIL contacted the city to have her Father’s name added, he served honorably in the US Navy during WWII.  She was told that unless she paid the fee his name would not be added. Yes this really happened and I am not kidding, they expect a retired individual on a fixed income to “donate” $200 or her dearly departed Father’s name gets left off!  Tawdry is too nice of a word, it’s downright cruel and offensive!

That literally is the same thing as saying to an elderly woman: “we know that you saw your Daddy leave when you were a young child to go off to war, into uncertainty and possibly give his life fighting for us.  That you and your Mommy prayed nightly and worried for him, that you gave all a little child of your age could give…we KNOW all of this and for him to be honored we need your credit card number and billing address and you’ll see a charge of $200!”

“We also know that your Husband served, that you sat up nights praying for his safety not always knowing what would happen next and that at any moment he could be called away…for that sacrifice you will see another charge of $200”

“And finally we know that your Son served as well, that you worried for him night and day not knowing if you’d ever see him again, we’re also well aware that your son is service connected and is still suffering, we know this because we all know him well…all of your prayers and all of that worry is valued at $200 for us, please expect to see that charge as well!”

My understanding is that one of my BIL’s already paid the fee for my Father in Law’s name to be added.  I can only assume that he is being pragmatic about this and not worrying about how offensive it is to take that money from him.  This isn’t a criticism of him (although it would be nice if he talked to his Brother about this) rather it is a criticism of the Duchesne City Council and Mayor and whomever else is involved with charging Veteran’s in order to honor them.

This is about pretending to be honoring Veteran’s for their service for a price.  Before they committed to putting in this monument they should have figured out ALL of the costs and found ways to raise money that doesn’t involve asking those who it supposedly is meant to honor to pay for their names to be engraved upon it.

What about Vets from Duchesne who paid the ultimate price during their service?  What about Vets who don’t have any living family members left?  I guess their sacrifice doesn’t actually matter to Duchesne, just that of those who can pay the fee or are fortunate enough to have a living family member with the means to pay their fee!