Monday, May 14, 2007

Playing games for the troops

Motorcycles and gambling. You've got to love that combination.

And that's what the Lynchburg Center for Independent Living (LACIL) will be offering on the night of May 19th (5-9 p.m.) -- a casino event to benefit local disabled veterans, prefaced by a motorcycle parade from Rolling Thunder.

Of course, it's not a real casino. That would be illegal. Rather, winners will get their pick of prizes offered by everyone from Bed, Bath & Beyond to the local Harley-Davidson dealer.

The event will take place at the Marine Corps League building on Lakeside Drive. This, coupled with a benefit golf tournament sponsored by the League on May 16 for the amusement of veterans back from Iraq, is another indication that we learned a valuable lesson from the Vietnam War.

No matter how we may feel about the conflicts in which our soldiers fight, we have to honor and appreciate their willingness to do so. I couldn't disagree more with someone who wrote a letter to our newspaper last year insisting: "You can't support the troops and not support the war." Accepting that premise in 2007 would lead to the same discrimination and rejection that soldiers and sailors encountered when they returned from Vietnam -- even the ones who were drafted.

As for the Marine Corps League, this might be the first time in history that a group of Marines was forced to leave a beachhead without a shot being fired. The current headquarters building has been deemed to be in the way of the approaching mercantile juggernaut known as the Lakeside Centre -- but according to Steve Bozeman, the Marines have already fallen back a few blocks to a new site across from Daddy Bim's Barbecue on the "old" Old Forest Road.

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