You know those type of friends who feel they have to forward half the internet onto everyone in their address box… Well this is a friendly forward, but one of those good ones, the type that should get passed around. After photographing a Veteran’s event on Monday for the Concerned Women ofI’m feeling a patriotic week coming on so I had to forward this to you.
The following post was written by State Rep. Jodi Tymeson and sent out on Veteran’s Day… Pass it on! – Dave
Today is a sacred day for our nation.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson established November 11 as Armistice Day because World War I ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. As momentous as that day was, it has taken on even more meaning over the years. In 1921, on November 11, an American soldier known but to God was buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Armistice Day was officially named by Congress in 1926 and became a legal national holiday in 1938.
Unfortunately, World War I was not the war to end all wars. We endured World War II and Korea, and in 1954, Congress changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. With the new name, the observance was given broader scope: To honor all American veterans, living and dead, in whatever war or period of peace they served. Today we honor all veterans for their service in the military in the defense of freedom.
You might think the American military began when America became a country. But the Massachusetts militia (the early National Guard) began mustering in 1636. These were farmers, hunters, shopkeepers who banded together to protect their families. It wasn’t until 1775 on Lexington Green when Captain Jonas Parker and 75 armed minutemen stood up to more than 600 British regulars. As the British raised their weapons, Captain Parker ordered, “Don’t fire unless you are fired on, but if they want a war, let it begin here.”
Those first colonial fighters who died in Lexington sacrificed their lives for the idea they could form their own country. We owe them all our gratitude and we honor them today.
Today we honor veterans like those who fought in the Civil War. Iowans like Private George Healey of Company E, 5th Iowa Cavalry who was awarded America’s highest military honor, The Medal of Honor, presented to individuals for exceptional valor, in recognition of their individual acts of courage. Private Healey was from Dubuque.
We honor veterans like Colonel George Day, an Air Force officer and F-100 pilot from Sioux City, Iowa who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War. Despite being shot down, seriously injured and tortured cruelly, Colonel Day offered maximum resistance and his bravery in the face of deadly enemy pressure was significant in saving the lives of fellow aviators who were still flying against the enemy.
Today we honor veterans like Sergeant Major Bradley Kasal, whose hometown is Afton, Iowa. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery under fire. SGM Kasal was attempting to rescue Marines in Fallujah, Iraq when the enemy threw a grenade at them. Kasal rolled on top of a fellow Marine to absorb the shrapnel with his own body. SGM Kasal was shot seven times, wounded by 40 pieces of shrapnel and lost 60 percent of his blood. He refused medical attention until all of the other Marines had been treated. I had the honor of meeting SGM Kasal recently when he was back in Iowa. There is not doubt how much he loves our country and his fellow Marines.
We should all be truly inspired by these heroes. They have and continue today to defend our freedom.
Many of us have long family histories of military service. From time to time on the campaign trail, Bob has shared the compelling story of his late dad John’s service in some of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific during World War II. I am also blessed to come from a family of veterans. My grandfather, father, husband, and brother all served or are currently serving in the military. My grandfather was an infantry soldier in the trenches of WWI. My husband flew a medivac helicopter in Vietnam. I recently retired as a brigadier general in the Iowa National Guard.
On behalf of Bob and the entire Vander Plaats campaign team – including state co-chair Dick Johnson, who himself has had a long, distinguished career in the Iowa National Guard – I say thank you to all our veterans. And we thank their family members, too, because they also make many sacrifices. We know they are the heroes at home who wait nervously and patiently until their loved ones return.
While today is a special day, we can honor our veterans every day by doing a few simple things:
Proudly fly the flag of the United States. Stand and put your hand over your heart when the flag is marched by. Never desecrate the flag. Flying the flag shows respect to our veterans as it is our symbol of freedom.
- Proudly sing our national anthem with your hand over your heart.
- Proudly say our Pledge of Allegiance.
- Support the troops with a yard sign, a yellow ribbon, or attend a troop support rally.
- Send a note to a hospitalized veteran.
- Send a note to a veteran in a veterans home.
- Help a local veterans organization with one of their projects.
- Donate blood.
- Listen to a veteran tell their story.
Take time to say thank you to a veteran – it will mean more to them than a medal or ribbon.
We’ve all been inspired by past generations of veterans and today’s new generation of veterans – those returning today from fighting the global war on terrorism. It’s impossible to say which generation is the greatest because they have each done what was asked of them – they defended our freedom.
May you always remember that you live in freedom today because of the service and sacrifice of veterans willing to fight for freedom, willing to die for freedom. May you always cherish your freedom and never take it for granted. May God bless our men and women serving in harm’s way around the world today.
photo by Dave Davidson
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