NEWS

Service honors American vets

PAT FRIDGEN
Andrew Carbaugh, 36, has 18 years in the Army National Guard and served in Iraq. William Benson, 86, was in the Navy in World War II. He was aboard the USS Buck, which sank in four minutes off Salerno, Italy on Oct. 9, 1943. He was also on the USS Evans off Okinawa May 10, 1945 when it has hit by four Japanese kamikaze planes in 73 minutes. The crew saved the ship. Both men were honored at the Veterans Day program. They are standing next to a 1943 Willys Marine Corp jeep, owned by Kevin Lesher of Greencastle. The restored jeep and artillery trailer were used in the Pacific during World War II.

Bob Harris, Franklin County Veterans Affairs Officer, looked at the 80 citizens gathered on a chilly November 11 day. "This is not a big crowd, but it is a humble crowd," he said at the Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Day service. "Today other people are doing what they do on vacation days. They should be here to honor our veterans."

As the featured speaker outside Greencastle Borough Hall, he addressed active military with Iraq experience, veterans from every conflict back to World War II, borough and school district officials, civic organization representatives, families and interested residents. He showed them a piece of concrete from the Berlin Wall.

"I saw people behind that wall who would gladly be in Greencastle today."

Harris reminded everyone that freedom only came from sacrifice, because someone said, 'I will defend you.' As a result of that response, some families lost loved ones. While members of the military protected the United States from enemies foreign and domestic, he acknowledged that some people would always oppose policy or politicians. However, that did not "give anyone the right to not support the warriors serving today or to disrepect the flag." He invited those people to move to any other country they thought was better. "American veterans deserve our respect and appreciation," said Harris.

He quoted President John F. Kennedy, who said in 1961, "We celebrate this Veterans Day for a very few minutes, a few seconds of silence and then this country's life goes on. But I think it most appropriate that we recall on this occasion the contribution and the sacrifice which so many men and their families have made in order to permit this country to now occupy its present position of responsibility and freedom. In the end, the only way to maintain the peace is to be prepared in the final extreme to fight for our country and to mean it."

VFW Post 6319 Commander Jim Winslow asked for a moment of silence for the 13 people killed and 42 wounded in the Nov. 5 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

American Legion 373 Commander Doug Schooley read a poem from an unknown author, which included the verses, 'He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast, And he sat around the Legion telling stories of the past, But we'll hear his tales no longer for old Bob has passed away, And the world's a little poorer for a soldier died today. If we cannot do him honor while he's here to hear the praise, Then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days. Perhaps just a simple headline in the paper that might say: Our Country is in Mourning for a Soldier Died Today.'

The 11 a.m. ceremony ended as 11 flags, donated by Greencastle Exchange Club, were distributed to winners in the crowd.

Army veterans Chester Williams, 86, World War II; Larry Williams, 62, and Bobby Poindexter, 64, both Vietnam; attended the Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Day program last Wednesday.