Honoring Veterans

THE 70TH anniversary of D-Day was observed Friday to honor those who battled then, and another event occurred that day in memory of a soldier who had lived in nearby Toronto but was killed in August 2005 by enemy small-arms fire in Iraq.

That was the day a sign was unveiled, naming a portion of Ohio 7 near Toronto’s Franklin Street Extension as the U.S.M.C. Sgt. Nathaniel Shae Rock Memorial Highway.

Designating that part of the highway in memory of the deceased Marine sergeant isn’t the first time that he has been honored. A rescue and drug dog obtained in 2006 by the Martins Ferry Police Department was named to honor the Toronto man, who had served as a part-time officer for the Martins Ferry department.

The Toronto High School graduate, who was one of five Marines killed while on a mission in Iraq, was highly regarded in Martins Ferry and was described as taking “a vested interest in everyone and especially his work.” He had planned to continue in police work after his military service ended.

His K-9 namesake was the first dog of that type obtained by the Martins Ferry police since the 1970s, and he is now retired. The department currently has one dog, Ecko, and Police Chief John McFarland said the dog is used for narcotics and tracking, and those are the same duties as his predecessor, Rock.

The legislation to name a section of Ohio 7 to honor Rock was introduced by state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, who said that young man “dedicated his life to community and his country. When the community drives this stretch of road, residents will be reminded that one of their own gave his life for his country.”

MEMORIAL Day and D-Day observances are past, but the people in the United States don’t confine their ways of honoring those who fought for their country, with many of them dying in that effort, to a single day or event.

That’s why it’s imperative that something be done about the Veterans Administration hospitals. Those who survived the horrors of war should have proper care – to do anything less would be a disgrace.