Richard McElhoes served in the Vietnam War, and he sadly remembers the reception many of the veterans received when they came home from the war.
"Some of us were spat on. They called us baby killers," Mr. McElhoes said.
Mr. McElhoes of Bridgeville is involved in a project that he hopes will foster respect and honor for the Vietnam veterans and all of the veterans of America's military.
From Memorial Day to Veterans Day on Nov. 11, banners with pictures of veterans will be displayed throughout the borough.
The 24-inch by 18-inch banners supported in metal frames are to be hung on utility poles on Washington Avenue in the Bridgeville business district. If enough banners are commissioned, more would be posed on side streets, too.
"The idea of the banners is to give the veterans the recognition they deserve," Mr. McElhoes said.
Each banner will feature a photograph of the veteran printed on the weatherproof banner, his or her name, the veteran's branch of service, rank, and the name of the conflict in which the veteran served.
The Bridgeville public works department will help put the banners up and take them down after Veteran's Day.
Mr. McElhoes said they are designed to withstand the elements and can be reused year after year.
So far banners have been made for Mr. McElhoes and for Thomas Hughan Jr., a veteran of the National Guard, who is the commander of the American Legion Post 54 on Station Street.
"We made these banners first to show people what they look like," Mr. McElhoes said.
The one-time cost to join the program is $50, which covers the costs to produce the banners, brackets, and mounting hardware.
"If there is any money left over, it will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Fund," Mr. McElhoes said.
Bridgeville residents who are interested in the program need to fill out a form available at the Borough Building and at the Parking Authority office on Hickman Street, and provide a good quality military photograph.
Checks can be made payable to Bridgeville Borough, and can be delivered or mailed to the Bridgeville Parking Authority, 304 Hickman Street, Suite 2, Bridgeville, PA 15017. The Authority phone number is 412-221-4404.
Mr. McElhoes said even if the veteran is handicapped and can't travel to the borough building or parking authority office, arrangements will be made for someone to visit the veteran and pick up the photograph. He said a local Eagle Scout has volunteered to help veterans who are shut-ins.
"We want to have the banners up for the kids when they are coming home from Afghanistan in 2014," Mr. McElhoes said.
Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: email@example.com