Like thousands of other communities, Morgan County residents gathered in our high school gymnasium to honor and to thank those who served in the United States Armed Forces.
Many of the veterans attend the ceremony each year, including our dear neighbors, Bob & Jean Baker.
The Jr ROTC filled the bleachers next to the older veterans.
The mayor’s son, a physician currently stationed at Fort Gordon, talked to us about his service. Major Curt Gilbert spent his five year residency in Radiology at Cook Army Medical Center. He told us how far the limb loss programs had come as wounded soldiers from the Iraq War came to Cook to be re-habed and fitted in the limb loss programs.
The work was challenging and rewarding, but the Major felt more & more that his calling was to deploy to a war zone. He came back to Fort Gordon, then got orders to serve in the only expeditionary hospital in Afghanistan.
He experienced wartime medicine in spades. “The care a team can give in a tent is amazing,” Major Gilbert told us, “In military wartime medicine, you are waiting for those helicopters. It is the most efficient setting ever. The mission is to take care of soldiers. And we took it personally when we lost a soldier.”
The Marines were making humanitarian efforts on behalf of the Afghans to find clothes and blankets for them. The literacy rate among the local population was about 15%. So the Marines built schools, too.
The Major, in a communication to his parents, Judy and Bruce Gilbert, told them what the Marines needed. Within two weeks, the elder Gilberts’ neighbors were sending hundreds of boxes of supplies. One Madisonian included a note in his box. “Dear Curt,” it said, “Here are clothes and jackets. I’m not sure if I’m giving clothes to future enemies; but I hope they keep the little urchins warm.”
When his tour of duty was over, Gilbert rode home in the belly of a C-130. He was the only live person among the soldiers in the five coffins around him.
Thank you for your service, soldiers. We will never forget your sacrifices on behalf of the United States of America.