Traverse City Record-Eagle

Our Views

May 19, 2013

Editorial: Airport should give vets prominent recognition

Until Cherry Capital Airport gets leadership with a spine, the airport ought to just scrap for now a plan to stick a sign welcoming home active-duty military personnel in a corner by a luggage area.

The local group Veterans for Peace wanted to erect a sign in a prominent spot by the arrival area at Cherry Capital to welcome members of the military and thank those coming home for their service.

A great idea — and one no one had come up with before.

But a handful of area veterans who oppose the group’s politics attacked the idea; more accurately, they say they like the idea of a sign — something they’ve never done in the past 50 or so years - but only if Veterans for Peace didn’t get credit. So there.

Apparently worried about getting a tongue-lashing, the seven-member airport board — made up of individuals named by Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties to represent county interests - agreed to a welcoming sign but only if it was stuck in a corner near a baggage carousel.

Airport officials said it’s the only area available; all other areas of the airport are already taken up by directional signs or paid advertising, and heaven forbid the airport should give up some paid advertising space to honor local veterans.

What’s really happening here is that a handful of people who apparently don’t like the idea of peace, or at least of veterans lobbying for peace, threw a fit when they heard about the Veterans for Peace plan, and got their way.

Former airport commissioner and Leelanau County Commissioner Richard Schmuckal led the opposition and recruited Veterans of Foreign Wars commanders from Lake Leelanau and Traverse City.

Opponents didn’t object to the message, according to Cherrlyand VFW Post 2780 Commander Richard Thibeau, they just don’t like Veterans for Peace.

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