Veterans Day celebrated across Edgar County

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Brocton honors Veterans

Members of the Brocton Legion Auxiliary honored area veterans Saturday, Nov. 9. Instead of the traditional annual dinner, it was decided to do a breakfast at 8:30 a.m. This allowed those who do not like to drive after dark, an opportunity to come during the daylight hours.

A bountiful breakfast, all homemade, was served to a crowd of veterans and their guests. Brocton Legion member Jim Taber, shared thoughts of his recent Honor Flight Tour to Washington, D.C.

He talked of receiving a phone call from Springfield saying he was going to Washington. He said, “I asked, ‘how am I getting there-I don’t fly.’” He did fly, and said it was a memorable trip and one every veteran should take.

Taber was accompanied by his son Sterling and the weather was perfect. He especially enjoyed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and seeing all of the other memorials. He stressed that for Vietnam and Korean soldiers this was their parade, as these veterans did not come home to parades as they did during World War I and II.

In addition to all of the sights, food was readily available throughout and on his trip back he received 160 pieces of mail call messages, which took him three days to open and enjoy.

Hume family served the country

The keynote speaker at the Hume American Legion Veterans Day Program recounted her family’s service in the military.

Shirley Rund Camp’s father and eight brothers all served in either the Army, Navy or Air Force, with a couple of the brothers making a career of the military.

Rund said her father set the example during World War II. Despite being eligible for a draft deferment as a farmer, he enlisted at age 47. He was discharged from the service Nov. 11, 1946. Her brothers were all veterans of the Korean War and Vietnam War eras.

Linda Witt, president of the Roth Williams American Legion Post 369 reminded all present of the purpose of Veterans Day.

“We are here to honor all veterans,” said Witt.

A special guest at the program was World War II veteran Robert Darley, who was a Navy Seabee. Darley did not address the crowd but he talked with those who stopped by his seat prior to the meal being served.

Darley was assigned to the European Theater and said his unit was at sea for the D-Day invasion of France. He recalled after landing in France things were still in a confused state.

“We came to a big roundabout with about six roads and somebody pointed us to road we were supposed to take,” he said.

That road led to the village of Saint-Lô.

“It had been destroyed by a tank battle. There was nothing left so we turned around and went back,” said Darley

A Veterans Day ceremony at Kansas

A Veterans Day service was held 9:30 a.m. Nov. 11 in the Kansas High School gym with colors presented by the color guard of Kansas American Legion Post 539.

Principal Cindy Spencer welcomed those in attendance, which was followed by Madison Inman singing the national anthem and Keely Sutton leading the Pledge of Alliance.

Post Commander Terry Hackett discussed what a veteran is and encouraged the crowd to honor our veterans and those who are still fighting for our freedom. He also introduced the veterans in attendance, including which branch, which unit and where they served.

First and second grade students read short notes about what Veterans Day is all about, and the kindergarten through sixth grade chorus presented “On Veterans Day” in song led by April Noel. The junior and senior high ensemble sang the theme songs for each service and veterans from each branch stood at the appropriate time in the performance. The school’s FFA demonstrated the proper way to fold an American flag, while a member read the significance of each fold.

Cub Scout Pack 289 also participated in the program.

The closing consisted of a montage of photos on a large screen with actual service members telling about what they do.

Paris gathers to remember

Paris residents braved the cold, rain, sleet and snow to honor those who have served the United States in the armed forces for the traditional Veterans Day program Monday, Nov. 11.

Paris American Legion Post 211 Commander Paul Hanks served as master of ceremonies for the ceremony at the Edgar County War Memorial on the grounds of the Edgar County Courthouse. Also present for the ceremonies were Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Steve Spencer, VFW Auxiliary Presidents Judy Quinn and past Paris Legion Commander and past Chef de Chemin de Fer of the 40 & 8 Ted Lang. The opening prayer was presented by Pastor Gary Thomas of First Assembly of God in Paris.

As is tradition, the ceremony was held at 11 a.m. to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the armistice to end World War I was signed. Armistice Day eventually became Veterans Day by act of the U.S. Congress.

The Paris High School Band, under the direction of Kevin Pruiett, performed the “Star Spangled Banner” and also provided taps at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The speaker for the ceremony was Staff Sgt. Gregory Decker of Paris, who just completed his 20th year as a member of the Illinois National Guard and the 1544th Transportation Company.

Decker said in the first years following World War I, Armistice Day was remembered with solemn reflection and was not a national holiday. Early organizers asked for a brief moment of silence at 11 a.m. to remember the veterans of The Great War. Congress proclaimed Nov. 11 Veterans Day in 1954.

“Regardless of the years, the service members donned a uniform of the branch they served, this day belongs to all veterans,” said the Decker, a veteran of Iraqi Freedom. “From the Minute Man of the Revolutionary War to the warriors fighting around the world today, the line of Americans willing to risk their lives for this country is long. This day belongs to them.”

Decker also noted during President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address in March, 1865, Lincoln began the unifying task of caring for all veterans who served in the Civil War. “The message was clear,” Decker said. “President Lincoln was affirming the nation’s obligation to care for our veterans and provide for the families of those who perished on the battlefield.”

Decker observed, Lincoln said, in part, “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan.”

The staff sergeant concluded noting Lincoln’s words were a solemn reminder, “that we, as a nation, owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans and their families.”

Following the ceremony, a free luncheon was served at the Paris VFW, provided by Prospect Bank.

Shiloh says thank-you to veterans

Shiloh School was in session Monday, Nov. 11, and members of the National Honor Society hosted an all-school assembly to inform students about the importance of Veterans Day, which marked its 100th anniversary this year.

Main speakers for the event were veterans Daryl Huffstutler and Derrick Lorenzen.

Huffstutler served in the Navy between 1970 and 1973 and was an aviation hydraulics specialist. Most of his time was spent at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia, although he did a year’s tour in Mediterranean. He eventually attained the position of crew chief for maintenance of F-4 fighter jets.

“After an overhaul, it was my job to fly the backseat checking all of the systems to make sure we fixed them right,” said Huffstutler. “I enjoyed my military service.”

Lorenzen is a 10-year veteran of the Marine Corps who flew the back seat of F-18s to operate camera and weapons systems while deployed in Afghanistan. When the F-18s were retired, the Marines transferred him to infantry with a quick response unit that spent a lot of time at sea prepared to respond to any trouble spots in the world.

He told the assembly as a high school student he had no interest in the military because his goal was to go to medical school. It turned out he did not like medical school and the terrorist attacks against the Twin Towers and the Pentagon occurred during the early stage of his time at medical school.

After trying different jobs that offered little satisfaction, Lorenzen enlisted.

“It was a fantastic experience. I got to see how other people live and their cultures,” said Lorenzen, adding his time in the military provided an important personal lesson. “You also learn about service, which was something I never thought about as a student.”

(Prairie Press writers Ruth Patchett, Roger Stanley, Nancy Zeman and Gary Henry contributed to the story.)