Johnny Damon threw some light on the wars that no one seems to notice anymore.
He received the Joan Payson Award for community service in honor of his work for the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides assistance to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I’m not that emotional of a person,” Damon said after Tony Odierno, an Iraq veteran who lost his arm, presented him with the award at last night’s New York Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner. “But for the freedom that we have, we all should pay more attention to people who go out there and fight for it.
“This was something that really needed to be addressed,” Damon continued. “I’m going to keep spreading the word. We’re going to make sure these guys come home and live normal lives and feel like they’re a part of our country still.”
Everyone should appreciate what Damon is doing. It’s what the rest of this country should have been doing all along.
But too many people seem more concerned about tax cuts for the rich than the poorly equipped soldiers we send to fight and the substandard services we provide when they come home.
And no one outside their neighborhoods seems to care that nearly 100 kids from this city have already died in these wars that don’t look like they’ll ever end.
Isaac Cortes, who was killed by a roadside bomb in December, is one of those kids from the Bronx. He used to work at Yankee Stadium, but the pay wasn’t great and baseball season doesn’t last forever so he joined the army because there are no other good jobs around here.
Cortes’s grandmother said he enlisted because he wanted a better life. He never got that chance, but maybe others will if everyone starts pitching in like Johnny Damon.