Veterans receive a full-house salute at Legion Post 28

 

MILLSBORO – Numerically speaking, America’s military is minuscule compared to the rest of the United States population.

In the hearts of patriotic Americans, veterans are huge – especially on Nov. 11.

A full house was on hand Saturday for Veterans Day 2017 at Oak Orchard/Riverdale American Legion Post 28 with ceremonies spiced with salutes, thanks and patriotic attributions supporting the National Anthem, American flag and care for veterans.

“This relatively small group of individuals does not ask for anything from us in return. And that’s a good thing because we can never repay them all for everything they have done for us,” said Post 28 Legion Riders director Ty Remp.

“There are times when the words, ‘Thank you’ seem so inadequate when you try to thank someone who has sacrificed everything for the sake of their country,” said Legion Post 28 Commander Mike Marcocci. “When do these two words – thank you; eight letters – really become words of gratitude? It happens when we say it because we mean it and not as an automatic response. It happens when we let our hearts speak for us. Another way to say thank you is to make sure our government provides for them, care and service they were promised that they deserve when they return home.”

Jim Lafferty, past Post 28 commander who is now the American Legion Sussex District Commander, noted that a small fraction of America’s population – around one percent –  is “defending us in the global war on terrorism. Yet, many seem intent on trying to balance the federal budget by diminishing the quality-of-life programs designed for the families who have already disproportionately made these sacrifices. Veterans have given us freedom, security in the greatest nation on earth. It is impossible to put a price on that.”

Commander Marcocci saluted families and loved ones of veterans. “We know that you have lived through very difficult times and often have borne a very heavy burden to keep the home fires burning,” he said.

“Today, we take the charge of Veterans Day to heart and mark the day with celebrations like we have here today, honoring America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for a common good. Some gave some, some gave all,” Mr. Lafferty said. “While not all veterans saw war, all who served in the military have expressed a willingness to fight if called to do so.”

Veterans Day dates back nearly a full century, originally named Armistice Day for the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany to end World War I. It became Veterans Day in 1954, a day to honor all veterans.

In attendance at Post 28’s ceremony: veterans spanning World War II to today’s ongoing war or terrorism.

Mr. Lafferty and Lee Glasco combined in the ceremonial POW/MIA presentation; a table with five empty chairs symbolizing five branches of America’s Armed Services in remembrance of those veterans who have not yet come home. Some 82,732 American troops from World War II to present remain missing and unaccounted for.

“Those who have served and those currently serving in the uniform services of the United states are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of sacrifice,” said Mr. Lafferty. “We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures there are others who have endured and may still be enduring the agonies of pain, deprivation and imprisonment.”

Guest speaker George Parish took an All-American stance on the controversy that has engulfed the sports world, particularly the National Football League and player protests during the National Anthem.

“We have the National Anthem. It’s more than a National Anthem. It’s a unity song. It brings us together. There is a time and place for public protest. There is a time and place to honor our National Anthem,” said Mr. Parish. “Recently, there was a football game between the Steelers and the Bears. One Pittsburgh Steeler player stood up proud, put his hand over his heart and stood there symbolizing the greatness of America. Who was this player? He is known by the name of (offensive tackle Alejandro) Villanueva. Why? He had been an Army Ranger who served two tours in Afghanistan. He knew what it meant to be a veteran. He knew what sacrifice was. The next day in America, the greatest sale of all jerseys in all of America for NFL shirts was this gentlemen’s. And I salute him.”

“A lot of civilians don’t understand what it means to be in the military, to depend on somebody else to protect your back,” Mr. Parish continued. “You should just reach into your soul and ask, why? Why would you not only disrespect your flag, the National Anthem, but renounce all what the veterans have done for you?”

Mr. Parish said that there were people including many in the political horizon who were disappointed with the healthcare for veterans especially in our fair state of Delaware.

“They earned it. They protected us. What did we do? Provide some marginal medical care,” said Mr. Parish. “Finally, after some political pressure and understanding how we should treat veterans, many of us had the opportunity to attend the opening of veterans’ outpatient clinic in Georgetown. That facility is well received. It can now do the job it should have been doing for some time.”

Said Garth Miller, Sons of American Legion Squadron 28 Commander: “We wouldn’t be here without them. Freedom is not free.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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