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A Patriotic Duty

-by Beth Walton via phone

Members of the New Brighton American Legion and the Red Lake Veterans of Foreign Wars came to the convention center Tuesday as a matter of national duty. Politics, they say, had nothing to do with it. Their uniforms were a refreshing break from the mostly suit-and-tie crowd. The flag-bearers marched through the convention floor, with instruments and Native American artifacts. One man with braids in his hair carried a stick of eagle feathers. Each feather represented one Red Lake veteran.

It's important for either party, whoever's elected, to recognize and care for veterans, says Jim Loud, from Red Lake, a Vietnam vet. "Today they treat Iraq veterans good, it seems. The Vietnam vets were forgotten. We never got any sort of homecoming. I'm glad they're doing it now, but they should have done it a long time ago."

Despite the past, Loud was thrilled to be asked to take part in the democratic process. "It's just such a huge honor to carry the flag and be here," he said.

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