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A Special Day For Veterans

By Staff | Nov 13, 2008

IN HONOR OF VETERANS DAY - A Veterans Day Program was held at VFW Post #2295 in Emmetsburg on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Music and speakers, including State Representative Marcie Frevert and Major John Cunningham of the Iowa National Guard, were on hand to offer remarks. Pictured (from left) are VFW members Bob Sackett, Joe Girres, Roger Picray, and Chuck Roberts saluting the U.S. Flag during the “National Anthem.” More photos from the Veterans Day Program can be found on Page 6 of today’s “Democrat.” – Lori Hall photos

Although the weather did little to cooperate on Tuesday morning, it didn’t stop military veterans and their supporters from attending the Veterans Day Program at the Emmetsburg VFW Hall.

VFW Post #2295 Commander Ron Hersom opened the program with assistance from the Post’s Color Guard. Hersom introduced Fr. Clem Currans who offered prayers, and the Emmetsburg Catholic School Choir. The third and four grade choir, under the direction of Kelley Fog, performed several patriotic songs. Entertainment was also provided by Bob Sackett on harmonica, and vocalist Wayne Smith on guitar. Jarred Janssen played “Taps” on trumpet at the conclusion of the Veterans Day event.

During the program, Jen Muhlbauer, co-president of the Iowa Lakes Community College Student Senate, and her fellow co-president and senators presented a check for $300 to the VFW for repairs made to the Veterans Memorial after it was vandalized.

State Representative Marcie Frevert spoke.

“We stand here today as a free and independent nation thanks to our veterans,” began Frevert. “We have over 275,000 veterans in Iowa, and the state has not forgotten them. New programs have been added at the state level and there’s been an expansion of existing programs.”

Frevert shared that $36 million has gone into the renovation for the state veterans home, the Iowa Veterans Cemetery has been created near Des Moines, and, for the first time ever, over $1 million has been generated for the Veterans Trust Fund. The fund provides relief for veterans and their families in paying for prescription drugs, housing, unemployment assistance, and more.

“Taking care of veterans is one way we can repay them,” concluded Frevert. “Our veterans have given of themselves–some even gave their lives–for the betterment of our country. We must ask ourselves what we can do to make our country better.”

Featured speaker Major John Cunningham then spoke. A native of Emmetsburg, Cunningham has served in the Iowa Army National Guard since 1985. He received his commission from the Iowa Military Academy in 1990. Currently, Cunningham is Assistant Chief of Staff for JFHQ-IA and is Commander of the 1st Battalion 194th Field Artillery, 2d BCT, 34th Infantry Division. He has been deployed twice, most recently to Afghanistan.

“This Veterans Day finds our nation at war. Thankfully, a new generation steps up to defend our nation’s freedoms. Today’s new veteran is the man or woman next door,” said Cunningham. “Many are citizen soldiers. Like those who came before, they will leave their mark on society.”

Cunningham concluded, “The last seven years have tested our military’s focus. All who serve and sacrifice deserve our respect, and we must never forget them. We can thank them by taking full advantage of our rights. Serve on jury duty, mentor a kid, vote, represent your country well when abroad, write a letter to the editor of your newspaper. Live your life to the fullest. Take advantage of these hard-fought freedoms.”