American Legion Post No. 87 marks Veterans Day
BULLHEAD CITY — American Legion Post No. 87 began its Veterans Day commemoration on Sunday with a brandy shot toast to fallen veterans.
Sunday was the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. Everyone in the bar was invited to participate in a moment of silence and toast that occurred at 11:11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month. The post paid the tab to cover the cost of everyone’s brandy shot.
The wind was too strong for an outdoor ceremony so speeches and prayers were presented inside the post’s meeting area.
The speakers highlighted positive human qualities that often are exhibited during war: Heroism, sacrifice, putting aside one’s pride and working together to achieve a common goal.
Keynote speaker John Pynakker, a U.S. Army veteran who today is the CEO and president of the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, said lessons learned in the military helped him grow into a successful man with an eye toward new challenges.
Pynakker admitted that it took time for him to mature after being somewhat of a “goof-off” during his youth.
He truly learned how to work with others — even after playing team sports — and became someone who thinks about the greater good when making decisions.
Pynakker also read a poem by another U.S. Army veteran, Charles Province, titled “It Is The Soldier”:
It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Many of the speakers also touched on the hardships soldiers and their loved ones at home face as they grieve.
“The repercussions of war’s terrible brutality have chilled the hearts and dimmed the hopes and dreams of many a loved one,” said Carol Crough, the post’s auxiliary president. “While the horrors of the battlefield may not have been our experience, we have lived with the terrifying loneliness created to answer an aggressor’s challenge.”
Other speakers talked about how important it is to become involved in one’s community after military service to honor the sacrifices of those who served their country.