Victory for Veterans
The annual celebration of Veterans was held on Veteran's Day in Ferron at San Rafael Junior High. Principal Garth Johnson was the host for the event. He credited Sam Singleton for beginning the Veteran's Day observance at the school in 1976. Johnson said it is an honor to have those who have served our country in attendance. The honor extends to veterans who didn't make it home from the wars and for those living who came home and have gone on with their lives. It is our duty to establish patriotism and love for our country. The United States is a rich nation and powerful among the nations of the world. The veterans have helped preserve those freedoms. This celebration remembers lifetimes of service and sacrifice.
Clifford Snow and Lon Delange presented the colors of the United States. History teacher Ky Horrocks read Pres. Barack Obama's Veteran's Day message to the audience. The Presidential Proclamation said, "On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us. It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops. As we honor our veterans with ceremonies on this day, let our actions strengthen the bond between a Nation and her warriors.
"In an unbroken line of valor stretching across more than two centuries, our veterans have charged into harm's way, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to protect the freedoms that have blessed America. Whether Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard, they are our Nation's finest citizens, and they have shown the heights to which Americans can rise when asked and inspired to do so. Our courageous troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe have earned their place alongside previous generations of great Americans, serving selflessly, tour after tour, in conflicts spanning nearly a decade.
"Long after leaving the uniform behind, many veterans continue to serve our country as public servants and mentors, parents and community leaders. They have added proud chapters to the story of America, not only on the battlefield, but also in communities from coast to coast. They have built and shaped our Nation, and it is our solemn promise to support our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen as they return to their homes and families.
"America's sons and daughters have not watched over her shores or her citizens for public recognition, fanfare, or parades. They have preserved our way of life with unwavering patriotism and quiet courage, and ours is a debt of honor to care for them and their families. These obligations do not end after their time of service, and we must fulfill our sacred trust to care for our veterans after they retire their uniforms.
"As a grateful Nation, we are humbled by the sacrifices rendered by our service members and their families out of the deepest sense of service and love of country. On Veterans Day, let us remember our solemn obligations to our veterans, and recommit to upholding the enduring principles that our country lives for, and that our fellow citizens have fought and died for. With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service men and women have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation's veterans.
"Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Nov. 11, 2010, as Veterans Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers. I call upon federal, state, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs," concluded Horrocks' reading of the proclamation.
Principal Johnson asked all veterans present to introduce themselves and tell a little about their branch of the service.
Clifford Snow said he was in the army in the German area. He has two grandsons now in the military, one grandson works on Airforce I and salutes Pres. Obama as he comes off the helicopter. His other grandson is working to become a pilot.
Lon Delange served as a marine from 1955-1962. He was a peacetime marine. "I stand in awe of those who went to fight, they never took our company," he said.
Kent Petersen said he was in the army during the Korean conflict. He traveled to Korea as an airforce employee, but he didn't see any conflict.
George Hendrickson was in the navy during Vietnam. Lamond Smith was in the navy and served in the South Pacific.
Lou Sansevero was a staff sgt. in the Marines from 1966-1977. "Veteran's Day is always a special day for me. I remember the comrades who are forever young, those we left on the battlefield. Yesterday was the 235th birthday of the Marine Corps."
Sam Singleton went in the army in 1950, he was teaching school at the time and they held his job for him until his return two years later. Singleton mentioned the many friends he made in the army and still keeps in contact. Roy Rogers is a good friend he met in the service.
John Aragon and his wife Em recently moved to Ferron. He was in the US Airforce for 21 years as a fighter pilot on the F86 and F100. "I am glad to be here and thank you for honoring us," said Aragon.
Larry Saling was in the navy from 1958-61. He joined while still in high school and participated in active duty in the Pacific and in Australia and the Philippines. "I got to see a lot of the world. I was an electronic technician with the crypto program, a top secret electronics division. I enjoyed serving my country," said Saling.
The ladies of the American Legion Auxiliary were in attendance at the program as well. They introduced themselves. Jo Sansevero said she married Lou when he had been in the Marines for one year. A military wife has a full-time job. When they stay home while their husbands go off to fight, it is a real challenge. The American Legion Auxiliary supports the veterans and it is an honor to be part of the organization.
Jan Hess in conjunction with the auxiliary conducts an Operation Home Support program which mails packages overseas to soldiers on active duty. The soldiers are all family members from Emery County residents. Currently the home support is sending eight packages. "The servicemen are so delighted to get our boxes. We are always accepting donations for Operation Home Support. The holiday boxes for Christmas will be sent by the end of November. Operation Home Support has been sending packages since 2004. The funds for the items sent and postage are raised with fund raisers and donations. It is an expensive program to operate." Hess also mentioned her husband Red Hess is the adjunct for the Ferron American Legion post and he served in France and was unable to attend the program due to his work.
Jan Petersen said she is the wife of Kent Petersen and she had a hard time keeping up with Kent while he served in the army. He once left her in Massachusetts while expecting a baby and he ended up in another state.
Rosemary Delange is the vice-president of the ladies auxiliary. They have been working hard on the legion hall to get it cleaned up so the veterans have a nice place to meet. "It is an honor to serve those men who kept our country free," said Delange.
Alta Singleton said she met Sam while he was serving in Denver and when he was released from the army he brought her home to Ferron and she's been here ever since. Other ladies auxiliary members present included: Louisa Hendricksen, Mrs. Snow and JoAnn Behling.
Principal Johnson asked each of the San Rafael students if they would bring a dollar to school to donate to the Operation Home Support.
The student council students read various quotes concerning freedom and veterans. A sampling includes: "America's veterans have served their country with the belief that democracy and freedom are ideals to be upheld around the world," by John Doolittle.
"Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul," by Maya Angelou.
"My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place, police, firefighters and members of our armed forces," by Sidney Sheldon.
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them," John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
A video presentation was shown with pictures of veterans and the different conflicts they have been involved in throughout the years. The video was prepared by Wayne Roberts.
Kelton Price and Brittnie Murdoch played Taps to conclude the program and the flag was retrieved by the members of the American Legion.
San Rafael students said, "Today we celebrate the freedoms, the courage and the selfless sacrifices you have made to America, to our communities and to each of us here today. We thank you for your service, love and dedication to the cause of liberty."
Those currently serving in war zones with connections to Emery County include: Richard Larson: Parents: Chuck and Vicki Larsen- Ferron; Jason Swegle: wife: Stacy Swegle and mother-in-law Joy Bloomer, of Ferron; Jesse Thompson: Mother, Deanna Thompson, Castle Dale; Ryan Stream Parents: Steve and Carol Ann Stream-- Huntington; Dustin Nielsen: Parents: Shane and Laurel Nielsen--Castle Dale.
Jason Larsen: Parents: Russell and Kathy Larsen--Castle Dale Robert Sterbutzel: Don and Jean Morlan Ferron--Mother & Father In Law; Anthony Ritzdorf: Wife: Brooks Ann & Mother in Law Ann Behling of Ferron ;Skyler Carpenter: grandson of Ron and Joanne Carpenter.