A proper way to celebrate

All of us face trials every day of the week, but few of us have ever had to deal with the terror that U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ginger Branson faced each day she was serving our nation during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

“We got used to it. It happened so frequently that we pretty much had the masks on all the time,” Branson said during a July 3 ceremony hosted by the Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club honoring local veterans.

Branson served for several months in 1991 at the Army’s 251st Evacuation Hospital in Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid Military City.

Every time Branson and her colleagues received a report of an incoming Scud missile, they went through the same routine of fumbling to put their gas masks and chemical suits before the missile struck.

“It took about five minutes to get everything on,” Branson said during the ceremony.

Branson served for several months in 1991 at the Army’s 251st Evacuation Hospital in Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid Military City.

Luckily, no Scud missiles ever hit close to the hospital, but Branson and her colleagues didn’t know that at the time. Imagine admitting more than 2,250 patients and performing 428 major operations while having the threat of a missile strike – and possibly even biological warfare – in the back of your mind.

The Rotary Club’s celebration was a very fitting way to celebrate Independence Day, and we applaud the club for bringing the memorable and relevant celebration to Shelby County.

In addition to Branson, the club also honored local retired veterans Eldon Woodie and Dick Ritz – a member of the Rotary Club.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as University of Montevallo student Courtney Moody performed “Taps” at the end of the ceremony, honoring the countless veterans who were never able to return to America for such ceremonies in their honor.

The editorial is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.