VFW Post 4411 honors veterans
Published 1:44 pm Friday, November 13, 2015
Veterans Day was properly observed at the Sgt. Jayton D. Patterson Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4411 on Wednesday morning.
Commander Scott Seddon looked about the room and said, “We stand in the midst of patriots and those who nobly served.”
Following Troop 17’s presentation of Colors, representative veterans and auxiliary members spoke briefly about their service experiences.
Kelly Stephenson, who is both a veteran and military spouse, said she’s sometimes asked by people which is more difficult: Being away from the family in service, or being at home while the officer spouse is away.
“I don’t know if it’s any harder to stay or leave,” Stephenson acknowledged after detailing some of the struggles she’s personally experienced.
Jeanne Harness, the post’s auxiliary president, said, “Many people forget why we as a community are here. We’re thankful for a day like this as an auxiliary to support our veterans.”
She said her father was a serviceman for 20-plus years, and her all brothers did their duty as well.
With tears welling in her eyes, Harness added, “I think about all the souls that were lost and the service they provided.”
She added that the auxiliary is no longer exclusively female, and that men are certainly welcome.
Ron Richards, a marine who served in Afghanistan, recalled being 15 years old sitting in a biology class when he heard the news about 911.
“I was dedicated that day to becoming a Marine,” Richards said, adding that a week after graduation, he was on his way to boot camp. He saw service in at Gitmo in Cuba, Japan and by 2008 in Afghanistan.
Three months there in particular were especially difficult because there of nonstop fighting.
“There was combat morning, noon and night,” Richards said.
In contrast, there was the “hearts and minds” campaign to win over the Afghans in order to gain their support against the al Qaeda and Taliban forces.
He saw that many of the citizens “truly love Americans.”
Operation Enduring Freedom, Richards added, was to prevent another 911 happening not just in the United States, but anywhere in the world.
Susan Moore, who served from 1978 to 1998, gave a brief history of how women made service gains in the Navy. Later Linwood Baker, who served in Korea, shared his thoughts. E. Thomas Myers from WWII was also recognized.
Tim Cormany, the post chaplain, served in Vietnam. He recalled his return to America with emotion.
“When I came home, it was not the America I had left. When I came back, we [the soldiers] were spit on and yelled at,” he said. That harsh reaction from civilians stayed with Cormany for many years until years later when someone greeted him, “Welcome home.”
“That burden of sorrow and sadness was lifted from my shoulders,” he said. “I’m so proud of America today. Make sure you welcome every veteran you meet. What a different that makes.”