Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Shouts and murmurs

Remembering all of our veterans

November 14, 2001

This week we honor our veterans. Since Sept. 11, as a nation we have been especially aware of the sacrifices veterans made and of the freedoms that endure today because of their sacrifices.

As we learn more about the Taliban, that callous, murderous group of men so hateful of women, and so hateful of anyone who does not live by their absurd set of rules, we appreciate even more our nation's leadership which long ago determined that freedom was worth the fight.

The fights have been ongoing, exhausting and killing. Some of the soldiers and servicemen were lucky enough to make it back alive.

In the past year we at The Mirror have interviewed and written about veterans who have ties to the area one had been held for months in a prisoner-of-war camp, one whose plane was shot down by the Russians and who was held captive in Russia, another who received the Purple Heart, and one who lost a leg when his plane was shot down over Vietnam.

These men represent a small number of area veterans who risked their lives for their country, who gave up years of their youth to serve, and who today continue to show their allegiance to this nation.

Early Sunday and Monday, members of Tonganoxie's VFW met on Fourth Street with some 300 flags loaded on trailers and began their work of decorating Tonganoxie streets and cemeteries with red, white and blue. At 4 o'clock each afternoon, they met again, to take the flags down.

In Tonganoxie, the VFW is an especially active organization. They have established a park which members maintain. One veteran, Bo Himpel, spends summers mowing and trimming the grass at the park. Another, Larry Meadows, donates his construction company's services whenever needed. And all the members work together. Currently, they are in the process of building a post home for the VFW. About four years ago an army tank was moved to the park for children to play on. Soon, an army helicopter will be mounted above ground at the park, another symbol of our nation's fight for freedom. Twice now, the organization has brought the Vietnam memorial moving wall to Tonganoxie. Families, schoolchildren and various organizations use the shelter house and picnic tables in the park. And above everything, atop a tall pole in the center of the park, the VFW members proudly fly the American flag.

When we look at our nation's flag this week, during a week dedicated by President Bush to all veterans, whether it's a paper flag taped to the door of a business or a large flag blowing in the breeze, it's not only our nation and our freedom for which we should be thankful our thanks also go to the men and women who risked or gave their lives for this great nation.

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