Sharing lessons learned
MICHIGAN CITY — The American Legion Post 451 hosted their annual Veterans Day ceremony on Sunday.
Veterans from all branches of the military congregated in a show of mutual respect and gratitude for those who have served their county.
Veterans from all over La Porte County were seated in the Skwiat Legion Hall. A seat was left empty, with only the POW flag draped over it, as a symbolic gesture reminding everyone of those who have fought and have never been found.
Remarks were given by several veterans, many of whom shared lessons learned through their experiences in the service.
“On this day, Veterans Day, we are commemorating the service of veterans of all wars,” said Post Commander Tony Sadowski. “We remember how men and women set aside their civilian pursuits to serve their nation’s cause, defending the freedom of mankind and preserving our precious American heritage.”
President of the Auxiliary Jackie Wroblewski gave insight into war’s lifelong effects on veterans and their families,
“The waging of war involves more than just the combatants who fight to the death on the field of battle,” Wroblewski said. “The repercussions of war’s terrible brutality have chilled the heart and dimmed the hopes and dreams of many a loved one left behind on the home front.”
Matt Hampton, Iraq veteran and Second Vice Commander for Riders District, explained the duty of honor.
“Too often it is warfare, greed and brutality that persist in the face that follows (duty). Let us strive to see the same spirit of self-sacrifice is cultivated in peace as has been exhibited in war,” Hampton said. “Public honor must be given where public honor is due — not to the manipulator of a market, the seeker after profit, power of position, but rather let us honor the heroes of science who alleviate human suffering and carry to greater heights the standards of civilization.”
Adjunct Assistant Director of Riders Corissa Strader spoke of unity in service.
“The hurts of war fall alike upon those who wear the same uniform, no matter how they may differ in race, creed or culture,” Strader said. “Those who fight together suffer together to achieve a common aim.”
Sergeant-at-Arms Chaplain Rick Kentag imparted wisdom about some of the virtues that come with serving in the armed forces.
“Courage is one of the virtues born of war — the courage of individuals in the face of danger and the courage of nations to protect the weak and punish the aggressor,” Kentag said. “There is bravery to be shown in peace as well. May we recapture the courage which turned the wilderness into cities that bound men and woman together under government.”
Gulf War veteran Rob Strader ended with an impassioned speech about his experience, and the sacrifices made by service men and women. He implored everyone to recognize the freedoms protected by those who have served in the military.
“The defense of freedom is not just for those in the military, each of us shares that duty and that responsibility,” Strader said. “We do not have to join the Army or the Navy or any other organization of the defense department to actively defend our way of life. We can protect our freedom simply by maintaining it.”