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Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

My heroes wear combat boots

Posted Monday, August 16, 2010, at 3:20 PM

"Some heroes wear capes, My hero wears combat boots"

It's a familiar phrase to many of the families associated with the Indiana Army National Guard Alpha Company 1-151 unit based in Linton.

As we approach Memorial Day on Monday its significance is worth pondering.

Too often, many in this community and other places forget the significance of this cherished holiday.

It seems, the value and contribution of our military heroes past and present is being forgotten or celebrated with less zeal these days.

I guess to many being patriotic isn't the 'political correct' or cool thing to do, but I beg to differ.

Memorial Day is not about picnics, backyard barbeques, camping trips and the start of the summer season.

Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember all of those who have served and are serving in military service.

We need to remember these military heroes -- many from our own families -- for what they have done to protect and preserve our individual and our nation's freedoms.

It's always a moving moment when they read the names of the veterans who have passed away in the past year and play "Taps" at the community veteran's service conducted every Memorial Day on the courthouse lawn in Bloomfield.

That service will again unfold at 3 p.m. Monday.

If any of you have taken the time to attend any of the local Memorial Day services or cemetery services that last couple of years, the few number of people who turn out is rather embarrassing at most locations.

That's sad and disturbing.

How much effort does it take to attend one of those nearby services, which generally last less than 30 minutes?

Our local veterans' groups and the Greene County Veterans Council should be saluted for doing their parts to continue this honored and respectful tradition in our area.

But you know, the significance of this holiday has also dwindled on the national level.

Even our nation's Commander and Chief, U.S. President Brack Obama, this year has opted not to attend the traditional Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery and visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the laying of a wreath.

Instead, he's going to be on a family vacation back home to Chicago. The White House has announced he will visit the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for veterans an hour from Chicago.

Other presidents have missed the Arlington Cemetery service in the recent past -- George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

They were also wrong.

George W. Bush, however, was attending a Memorial Day Service in Normandy, France that was honoring that great World War II battle.

The custom of honoring the graves of the war dead began prior to the end of the Civil War, but the national Memorial Day holiday (or "Decoration Day," as it was originally named) was first observed on May 30, 1868, on the order of General John Alexander Logan for the purpose of decorating the graves of the American Civil War dead. With the passage of time, Memorial Day was extended to honor all those who died in service to the nation, from the Revolutionary War to the present. It continued to be observed on May 30 until 1971, when most states changed to a newly established federal schedule of holiday observance.

I'm sure many people are busy with plans on Memorial Day, but really how much time and effort would it take to honor 'our heroes' and attend a service somewhere?


Once again, Lamar Advertising Company is donating billboard space and a general family is donating money to buy the billboard to honor Indiana Army National Guard A1-151 Unit based in Linton.

The new billboard, located on State Road 54 entering Linton from the east -- near Bakersfield Raceway, is slated to be up by July 4.

The billboard will read: "Thank you for your contimued support. Family and Friends of A Company 1-151 ."

The Gary Green family from rural Worthington and Cicero has graciously donated money to pay for the billboard space for six months.

You will recall that the Greens stepped up during the most recent deployment of the local National Guard unit and sponsored a similar billboard that used a large photo that was taken by myself for the Greene County Daily World.

The National Guard unit has graciously allowed the Greene County Daily World logo to be included on the upcoming billboard because of this newspaper's continued strong support for the unit and its members, according to Margaret Amos, who serves as the local Family Assistance Coordinator.

The billboard will feature a message of thank you for the continuing service of the Guardsmen to the community and the nation. It will also have a new photo that was taken during a recent weekend drill.

Boston Scientific is also sponsoring a billboard that will be soon up in Greencastle area donated space by Lamar as well, but that is only sponsored for July at this point.

Lamar has offered to donate space where available for the units in Bloomington, Lebanon, and Columbus as well if sponsors in those areas for those units are located.

Vicki Aydt, local Family and Friends of A Company 1-151 (formerly the Family Readiness Group) chapter president, says she's excited that a new billboard will soon be up for everyone to see as a reminder about the valued military service the Guard members contribute to the community and the nation.

She said the work of the FRG is significant for the Guardsmen and the group appreciates any type of donations -- monetary, gift cards or other items from the community.

They are also looking for someone to put on a picnic or event for the group and she said, "We appreciate anything."

Again, the billboard project is just another way to honor our military veterans and say thank you to them for lacing up those combat boots and being our heroes.


A Memorial Day tribute: A Veteran Died Today

This poem was written and published in 1987 by syndicated columnist A. Lawrence Vaincourt.

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast;

And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,

In his exploits with his buddies, they were heroes everyone.

And tho' sometimes to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,

All his legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer, for old John has passed away;

And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He'll not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,

For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.

Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,

And the world won't note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,

And thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.

Newspapers tell their life stories, from the time that they were young.

But, the passing of a simple Soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land,

A person who breaks promises and cons his fellow man,

Or the ordinary fellow, who in times of war and strife,

Goes off to serve his Country and offers his life?

It"s so easy to forget them, for it was so long ago,

That the "old Johns" of our country went to battle, but we know,

It was not the politicians, with their promises and ploys,

Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

He was just a "common soldier" and his ranks are growing thin.

But, his presence should remind us, we may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict, then we find the Soldier's part,

Is to clean up the troubles, that others often start.

If we cannot give 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 a simple notice, in the paper that would say,

"Our country is in mourning, cause a Soldier passed away today."

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com.

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I said "they" meaning, the current and future presidents. I guess I don't understand why it is a problem that Obama did this, when you think it would be "great if the sitting President visited other national cemeteries each year." Is it because it was a location of convenience for him? If so, I can see that, but it beats just checking out for the long weekend as most of us tend to do (myself included this year unfortunately).

-- Posted by corbinsa on Fri, Jun 4, 2010, at 8:52 AM

Sorry corbinsa now I am confused, who is "they"? I am talking about a President of the United States attending the Memorial Day Ceremony. Yes, I did concede that it would be great if the sitting President visited other national cemeteries each year. But this President should have done it somewhere else, that is where I stand on my opinion of the Ill. visit.

-- Posted by Hedley Lamarr on Fri, Jun 4, 2010, at 6:23 AM

Thanks Jarhead and Globe&Anchor, I'm with you on the cemetery issue. Hedley, I'm confused how you can say it would be nice if they visited a different national cemetery to honor veterans, but stand by your opinion on the President doing just that... By your logic, it should be the governor or legislature of the state of VA visiting Arlington, as it's in VA, not DC.

I'm all for GWB visiting Normandy, Obama visiting Lincoln, etc. It's a shame that GHWB simply went on vacation (from what I read).

I've been to Arlington several times and a few of the civil war battlefields in NoVA, but am disappointed in myself that when I lived in the area I didn't go to more of the battlefields and national cemeteries.

One more thing to you Devil Dogs, if you haven't been to the NMMC at Quantico, I highly suggest going. It's a great experience!

-- Posted by corbinsa on Thu, Jun 3, 2010, at 9:04 AM

Jarhead98: Point well taken. I think that would be nice that each year a different National Cemetery could be visited to honor Veterans. I still stand by my opinion on the Chicago, Ill. visit.

-- Posted by Hedley Lamarr on Wed, Jun 2, 2010, at 10:20 AM

This is a madeup controversy. There are over 130 National Cemeteries (including some in Indiana). Just because Arlington is the most well-known doesn't make it any better or more important than any other. You don't have to be from a particular state to be buried in a National Cemetery in that state. As a veteran I could choose to be buried in Quantico, Miramar, Abraham Lincoln, etc., even though I'm an Indiana native. Perhaps the tradition ought to be that the President visits a different National Cemetery each year to help educate our citizens about the other places of honor they might visit. Here's a link to the VA site if anyone's interested:


-- Posted by Jarhead98 on Wed, Jun 2, 2010, at 10:00 AM

I personally think Nick is correct on his view of what the President of this Country should do. If he wants to attend the ceremony around Chicago then he can run for Gov. of Ill. or Mayor of Chicago but right now he is the leader of this country so he should act like one. Attending to the business of the United States and the rites and ceremonies that go with it. He has dedicated four years of his life to the service of this Country and it's citizens not just his home state. This four year contract to the United States of America requires that he be a spokesperson and leader for ALL not just SOME. So YES he needs to be at Arlington to represent ALL Veterans. My grandfather and great uncles that fought in WWII are not less important but they would want the leader of this country to set a unifying example.

-- Posted by Hedley Lamarr on Wed, Jun 2, 2010, at 7:28 AM

Attendance at the Memorial Day services at Ridgeport Cemetary consisted of a grand total of one couple. A United States Marine, in dress uniform, was part of the Solsberry American Legion Post Honor Guard that rendered the 21 gun salute. The Honored Dead in Arlington National Cemetary deserve no more respect than the Honored Dead in Ridgeport, Fairview, Linton, or any other sacred ground; and, that includes Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary, an hour from Chicago, Illinois. We honor the service, not where they are buried. The President is the Commander-In-Chief of our Armed Forces. He too, serves, and does not deserve criticism for choosing a specific cemetary that does not meet with Nick's approval.

-- Posted by Globe&Anchor on Tue, Jun 1, 2010, at 11:00 PM

Good points, Nick!

-- Posted by LITERATI on Mon, May 31, 2010, at 7:03 PM

I don't think that we can rake the president or anyone else over the coals when the local VFW had a nice ceremony in memory of the soldiers at the Fairview Cemetary this morning and very few people attended. I arrived around 10:50, experienced the ceremony and, after walking around the cemetary looking at the final resting place of the veterans, was home by 11:45.

I realize many are out of town on this holiday, but it would be nice if you were in town next Memorial Day....join the fifty or so of us who were their today. God Bless America.

-- Posted by THE END on Mon, May 31, 2010, at 2:24 PM

It is to you frankijohnny and your family that makes me very happy to sponsor the billboard.

It is for Alpha Co all the way.


-- Posted by gary g on Sat, May 29, 2010, at 6:03 PM

Thank you Vicki, you are doing a great job for the soldiers and family members.

I saw a great T shirt last week on a young child "My Daddy Jumps Out of Airplanes - whats yours do?"

-- Posted by gary g on Fri, May 28, 2010, at 10:28 PM

I would like to say thank you for recognizing the Alpha Company of Linton. My husband has been a soldier there for the past twelve years and I have had many friends join there also. I am proud to be a wife of a soldier and I support all military persons that fight for our country everyday. I come from a long line of military family members and continue to see more as the family grows. Thank you for your time and honor. God Bless all of you soldiers and family members as well.

-- Posted by frankijohnny on Fri, May 28, 2010, at 12:46 PM

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