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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day Salute

Sons Of Liberty Ride-In

We attended a Veteran's Day Salute on Saturday October 8th. It was the first time we had gotten to attend this annual event. It was held at a really nice park in our town. The veteran's groups and others have spent the last several years funding and creating a special place to honor the people from our area that served in our Nation's armed services. We had not been over there is quite awhile so it was great to see all the new additions and new memorials honoring the people. 

The Sons of Liberty stopped to salute the flag.

We were early and were able to walk around a bit and see the new monuments that have been added to the park. We learned that the very first man in America drafted into World War I, hailed from our County.

We learned that the last American man killed in combat in WWII, was also from Our County. 

We started the day off with an opening ceremony. The Jr. ROTC presented the flags and the American Anthem was played.
Senator Bussman Speaking 

They then played a video that detailed some of the treatment our POW's suffered.

Lieutenant Colonel Myron Donald

The guest speaker was Lieutenant Colonel Myron Donald of the USAF. He served during the Vietnam War, was shot down and was a POW for five years. During most of that time, he was kept at the Hanoi Hilton. Hearing him recount his experiences was so moving. I was brought to tears during some of it. He talked of the treatment he and the other that were there endured.  He described the methods of communication they used because they were not allowed to speak to one another. He spoke of how they rebelled by using their hands and even their eye blinks to signal words like "torture" when they were used in propaganda videos. He had a younger sister as well a wife and son by the time he was captured and held. He talked of finding out many years later how his capture had affected the members of his family.... how his sister at a very young age felt invisible because the family was so worried about him and didn't know if he was alive or dead. His wife wasn't told one way or another until about 2 1/2 years into his captivity. It was heart-wrenching to hear him describe coming home, only to be basically locked up again because "experts" had informed the military that because of the length of their captivity and the treatment they had suffered, they would be crazy, homosexual and killers. They were not welcomed and were mocked and scorned by the very people they had sworn to protect. I am so thankful that most of the people in our Country do appreciate our Veterans and have let them know the are appreciated. I marveled at his ability to even talk about what he had been through. I was brought to tears several times, but I feel honored to have heard him speak.

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One of the announcers/hosts

The entire day was fun, even as we honored our Veteran's. Mr Kennedy, himself a veteran, had large display of items from his time in service as well as things he has collected and have been donated. It was like getting to look into a time capsule! 

Huey Helicopter rides from the airport flew over the park 

There were many veterans in attendance, some in full uniform. There were many different types of vehicles that are used by our military including an armored assault vehicle, jeeps and even a helicopter. People were allowed to get up in them and see what the view is from the inside. I know it is nothing compared to what they see when they look through those windows during any type of mission they are sent on, but sitting in those seats does at least offer a perspective. 

We watched Civil War re-enactors in full period uniforms show how they went into the battlefield, firing the guns and the cannons.
  This lady was a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy as she has descendants from the war and she was very delightful to talk to! She told me on average the ladies back in that time period wore about 30 pounds of clothing with the corsets, undergarments, hoops and the dresses! She was very grateful for the cool weather we have had! Someone asked her if it was a mourning dress and she described to us that it was not because it had the burgundy colored in it. The dresses that were worn during a mourning period had absolutely no colored other than black. The women were required to mourn for 2 to 5 YEARS! The men were under no such restrictions. 

We were treated to a wonderful mini airshow at the end of the afternoon. Our small municipal airport is about 8 miles away from the park so they were able to do flyovers, but could not land.  We got to see a vintage World War II Stearman bi-plane as well as a beautiful P-51 Mustang.  A trio of Russian Yak trainers flew several very tight, precision maneuvers overhead. That Veterans were piloting these planes, made it just a little more special, The local sky dive team did a demonstration, jumping into the Fairgrounds parking lot next to the park.  

We talked with many wonderful people, saw some great demonstrations and had a really good day. I could never thank our veterans enough for what they sacrifice to stand in my place, every time they are called to do so. All of them lose something by volunteering to do a very tough job. Some of them lose everything. 
Today is the day we officially honor our Nation's veterans. Be sure to stop one at some point during the day and thank them. And don't reserve your thanks for just this day. Let them know they are appreciated on other days too. 

God Bless the USA!

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