Quilt of ValorThe audience gathered at Charlotte VFW Post 2406 Saturday afternoon could understand the emotion David Burt was trying to keep under wraps. He took a minute to apologize before his gratitude took over and tears began to stream down his face.
“If you’ll bear with me, Vietnam vets are not used to getting this,” Burt said after he was presented with a Quilt of Valor for his service as an airman during the Vietnam War. “We never had this and it means more than you’ll ever know.”
Quilts of Valor was founded in 2003 as a way to thank returning soldiers who were coming home wounded following their service during the war in Iraq. The program gained in popularity so much that it expanded to include the recognition of servicemen and women dating back to World War II.
“I hope you feel the hugs of a grateful nation when you use this quilt,” said Jo Heather, Quilts of Valor coordinator for the State of Michigan as Burt received the “Quilter’s Hug.”
Burt served in a combat aviation platoon in Vietnam beginning in 1968. Burt received two medals for heroism under fire during his time as a door gunner on an assault helicopter. In 1969 he was transferred to the 11th Calvary Recon Assault Platoon, where his squad would eventually be ambushed in Cambodia. During the assault, Burt took multiple shrapnel wounds from an explosion. He was awarded Combat Infantry Badge, a Purple Heart, several air medals, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Presidential Citation Unit Ribbon.
“As you can see, the government hands out all these medals, but for a regular person like me, this is kind of our medal, it’s our way of saying thank you,” Heather said of Quilts of Valor. “We really want our service veterans to know how thankful we are, because without them we would not be growing up in the land of the free.”