Veterans honored

By: Brandon Darnell The News Messenger
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As they waited for Tuesday’s ceremony to start at the Orchard Creek Lodge in Sun City, some of the honored guests sat quietly, seemingly reflecting on events from decades ago while others joked and talked with friends. When the flag approached, the veterans stood and saluted. Across town, a similar scene was played out in front of the Veterans Hall. The Lincoln Hills Veterans Day ceremony was well attended by the approximately 350 residents, veterans and civilians alike, who turned out to honor and remember those who served. The National Sojourners, Inc. served as the color guard, dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms as they posted the colors before the “Star Spangled Banner” and Pledge of Allegiance were recited. Lincoln City Council member Linda Stackpoole said she was “honored to be gathered here this morning to express our gratitude to the 25-million veterans who have fought for our country.” Jim Helzer, president of the board of directors for Sun City, recalled some stories of heroism he heard while working with veterans. One such story was about a man who was in a convoy of ships in the Pacific during World War II. Japanese planes sank one vessel and the man, along with some of his shipmates, volunteered to dive into the water and help save the survivors. They knew that they would be stranded if the Japanese planes returned. “Today we honor and give our respect,” Helzer said. Tuesday’s Lincoln Hills event paid special tribute to World War II prisoners of war, of which three live there: Mervin Danielson and Don Keysor of the Army, and Leonard Lincoln of the Army Air Corps. The poem, “In Flanders Fields,” was read aloud, reminding attendees that the armistice was signed to end World War I 90 years ago on Nov. 11. “I was really impressed with (Tuesday’s) turnout,” said Steve Witmer, Lincoln Hills Veterans Association president. “This is the best turnout we’ve ever had. I really appreciate the chance to make the tribute.” The date is celebrated around the world by the powers that were victorious in what was then called The Great War. In France, Veterans Day is called Armistice Day and the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth Nations call it Remembrance Day. But the theme is the same in all the countries, namely to honor all those who took up arms in the defense of their country’s freedom.