The VFW Post 1115 Veterans Day Program featured speaker State Commander Tom Gimble has a simple answer for those asking what have veterans done, exactly.
“I would encourage you to smile and say, around the world veterans have broken the shackles of slavery and oppression, replacing the darkness of tyranny with the light of freedom and liberty,” said Gimble on Sunday.
Gimble’s said this year will mark the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into WWI, “The war to end all wars.” (The Post is named after Grover C. King, Carroll County’s first serviceman killed in WWI.) He also spoke on the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
“Veterans Day is a day of recognition differentiated from other military holidays. Simply put, Memorial Day is set aside to honor our fallen, those who have fought and died in our nation’s conflicts,” said Gimble. “Veterans Day salutes all who have served no matter when or where. And our families who have suffered and served along beside us. Our veterans have bore the cost of America’s wars and continue to stand up for America’s peace. Today is your day. To be recognized by a grateful nation who appreciates what you have done. Every generation owes a debt of gratitude to those patriots of the past and the present who temporarily set aside their personal goals to answer our great nation call’s.”
He said gallant soldiers, airmen, navy, marines and coastguardsmen conquered the sum total of their fears to endure the miseries and hardships simply to save and protect the values on which the nation was founded.
“In doing this we have set a standard of courage for the entire world to witness. Your freedom is proof we have been up to the obligation,” Gimble said. “The example of courage is now better exemplified in the story of Captain Mark Garner. Captain Garner was a typical American youth. Growing up in the values of good citizenship. In fact, he received the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship award. He attended the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, where he received his army commission.”
Gimble said Garner made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Afghanistan in 2009 and urged participants to use every occasion honor him, his family and other veterans and their families’ sacrifices so elected officials be mindful of their accomplishments. Members of Garner’s family honored at the ceremony included his father and mother, Donald and Beth Garner, his brother-in-law Mark Heiner and Beth Garner’s sisters, Rachel Heiner and Jo Garner.
“There are times when mere words seem far from being adequate. This is such an occasion because we are gathered to recall persons who have made the supreme sacrifice and to honor their parents. Our deeds speak better than words,” said Post 1115 Commander Martin Rivera. “The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is founded upon the true comradeship of persons bound by experiences, interests and everlasting patriotism.”
Rivera said this comradeship endures through succeeding generations and into memory because neither time nor events separate any joined in the common defense of flag and country. He said those absent are in reality close and have molded the future of the nation.
The Carroll County High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps placed the colors and a POW/MIA ceremony was performed by Young Gun Mike Lara and Elsie Turner amd Department Auxiliary Chaplain Marcia Semones. Local musician John Carpenter performed two original songs, “Welcome Home; Long Overdue,” and “Jewel of My Memory.” A verse in the second song, modified to meet the occasion went “When You lose a child. No matter how. It’s still your child.”
Participants were served a meal prepared by auxiliary volunteers including pork chops, chicken, green bean salad, scalloped potatoes and dessert. These volunteers efforts were later praised by Rivera. In previous years events centered mainly around casseroles.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.