THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE

There are many prices that must be paid for freedom and the right to govern ourselves. There are various types and amounts of taxes. We must put up with the “rights” of others, even when we vehemently disagree with them. Some of us (as veterans) have had to give up our time and plans to serve in our Armed Forces. Some have served in combat situations, and received physical, emotional and mental scars that are carried for the rest of their lives. However, beyond all of these sacrifices there is one sacrifice that stands alone. When someone gives up his/her life for the sake of others, we commonly refer to that as the “ultimate sacrifice.” Those of us present at the May 9th meeting of the County Legislature were brought face-to-face with the reality and impact of that sacrifice.

PFC Duane C. Scott joined the Army on March 5th, 1969. Six months later he was far from rural Allegany County, serving in Vietnam as a “grunt” (infantryman) with the 35th Infantry Regiment. On September 29, 1969, he was killed while helping a fellow soldier who had been wounded. For his bravery and gallantry he was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation, Vietnam Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal. However, none of those awards could bring him back for his family and loved ones. A young man had paid the ultimate sacrifice for his comrade, loved ones and nation.

What can a community do in response to such a sacrifice? We certainly cannot make up the loss suffered by parents, siblings and loved ones. We cannot fill the void that is left. What we can do is REMEMBER. Such a sacrifice should never be forgotten. We can join with family and friends to recognize and remember that one of our own was willing to do what each of us should be willing to do for those we love. Most of us will never have the opportunity to show such bravery. However, when someone demonstrates that “last full measure” of devotion, we owe him/her our respect and remembrance.

That is what the County Legislature undertook on May 9th. The Legislators and other county officials gathered with family, friends and neighbors to remember and honor Army PFC Duane C. Scott. We gathered with his mother, Patricia Scott, and his brothers, Thomas Scott and Leon Scott, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. We passed a resolution asking the State Legislature to re-name State Route 275 in honor of Duane C. Scott. The Legislature unanimously approved Resolution #123-16.  The question now moves to the State Legislature for consideration, and hopeful approval. Regardless of what the State Legislature does, our County has honored and remembered one of our own. That is the least we can, and should, do.

Privilege of the Floor was granted to Emergency Management and Fire Director Jeffrey Luckey to recognize “EMS Week. “ Jeff gave a moving description of the service and sacrifice of our emergency responders. They sacrifice their time and abilities to make our communities a safer place to live. Many of those responders had spent time attempting to save the life of a young person the prior weekend. It is only appropriate that we recognize and honor these dedicated individuals.

In just a few days we will celebrate Memorial Day. For many it has become just another holiday, a day off from jobs or school. However, it was established as a day to honor those who have served in the Armed Forces. Consider visiting a veteran, or saying a prayer for those still suffering from wounds, both seen and unseen. The least we can do is REMEMBER.

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