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Veterans Among Us

November 10, 2016
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

Tomorrow is Veterans Day - a very special day in the lives of many families.

Like many others, my father was a veteran of World War II. While searching for a photo for our Tribute to Veterans special section (included in today's paper) I came across his discharge papers.

Most veterans, no matter where they saw action, do not talk about what they did or where they were. My father was no different. So it was interesting that his papers said he was an Administrative NCO, 1/Sgt of a Medical Company. He administered the affairs of a German POW?general hospital. I only knew he was a medic.

I also came across a V-Mail from my father to my older sister. This V-Mail was about 4-by-5, complete with censor's stamp. He had written from Italy in June 1944 after receiving a Father's Day card from her. He closed his letter with, "Be a good girl honey and try and keep mommie happy."

Those were tough times for those overseas and those at home.

My son and daughter-in-law are veterans of a younger era. My son was deployed during Operation Desert Storm. My daughter-in-law, who retired after a 22-year career in the Air Force, was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

When I asked my daughter-in-law about her military career, she mentioned her Humanitarian Missions to several countries, including Uganda, Morocco, Guyana, Bolivia, Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras.

"I didn't do it for any sort of recognition," she said. "To be perfectly honest, the only reason I'm telling you is because you asked."

And then we come to our youngest generation. My granddaughter's husband is in the Air Force. She knows the military life and embraces it well. I pray they will always be safe.

So it was with a great deal of respect that I typed the names of each veteran in the special section, recognizing families of military veterans.

In addition to those photos, there was a newspaper clipping of 20 young men from Palo Alto County who left for the Army. The group is pictured with suitcases in hand, waiting beside the bus to take them to Des Moines.

There was a 2012 Des Moines Register newspaper that featured Rex Crawford from Rodman who had served during World War II. He was quoted as saying "It made a better man out of me... You respect life. You learn to do what you were supposed to do. Once you got through it, it was done." Rex, 93, is now residing at Lakeside Assisted Living.

The late Loren Greiner from Emmetsburg, also a World War II veteran, was featured in that newspaper, too. He and Rex Crawford saw military action and both considered themselves fortunate to make it home.

For each and every person who has served this great country, we thank you for your service. It's a simple statement but it comes from the heart.

Say "Thank You" to a veteran today and every day. The Veteran's Day Program is Friday at 10 a.m at the VFW Hall in Emmetsburg. See you there!



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