Let that word sink in for a moment. The word has different meanings for a great number of people. Some believe it is our right to be free, that everyone should respect that and leave us alone. For others, it was something won only through the greatest of sacrifices. For still others, it means spending eternity in a forgotten cemetery in a far off country without even a headstone to mark their passing.
The annual Veteran’s Day ceremony was held in Eagle Point on Nov. 11, beginning at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year. About 300 gathered to show honor and support for veterans of all wars, both current and past. Led by the National Guard, the procession made its way from the Ashpole Center to the Veteran’s Memorial at the covered bridge where the flag was officially hoisted and the crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance. MC Hank Rademacher introduced the Eagle Point High School Band who played the National Anthem. Chaplain Jerry Zieman, VFW post 6184, offered a prayer for all soldiers, past and present and a prayer for peace in the world.
MC Rademacher tearfully said he considered it “an honor and a duty to serve” in the United States Armed forces. He related how he had come from a family that had proudly served as far back as the First World War and had continued that tradition since. He related that most veterans considered it a privilege to serve and do so without the slightest hint they had ever been in the military. Many people served in such horrible circumstances that they don’t want to relive those moments. Some watched as friends ere killed and some suffered in POW camps where their treatment was inhumane.
Rademacher opened the mic to those who wanted to way a few words and Upper rogue Chamber president Richard Gyuro related how he had been in Berlin as the actual wall was being built. He told the story of a lady who was on the other side and she said the “coffee if better on the west side.” Germany was still a mass of rubble from being bombed during the Second World War and recovery had not been quick.
“I have lived times best forgotten,” was a line honoring veterans from the commander of the VFW post. “I have felt the sting of fear,” “I have seen the face of terror.” The message is that freedom is never free and we require soldiers to do things that most would never do so that we can enjoy that freedom.
Kathy Sell offered a different perspective. As mother of a soldier in Afghanistan, it is not only fitting that we honor those in Harm’s way, but also those that have served to keep us free.
To conclude the ceremony, The Eagle Point Marching band played “Taps” on this wintry cold day in Eagle Point.
The Independent joins with all Americans in honoring all veterans during this time of rememberance.