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Tag Archive | "Veteran’s Day"

Remember Our Real National Debt on Veterans Day


By Fang A. Wong, Commander
The American Legion

Google the term “National Debt” and you will quickly receive the search results for millions of websites.
Most deal with the very serious issues of government overspending and the accumulation of more than two centuries of federal deficits. Yet very few bring up the biggest national debt of them all—that which America owes to her veterans.  November 11, Veterans Day, marks the perfect opportunity for us to take an historical audit on just how much this nation owes her heroes.
Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer is one who America owes an enormous debt. Humble by nature, but heroic by deed, Meyer drove a humvee into an Afghan valley that he knew was heavily populated with well-armed enemy insurgents. Outgunned and outnumbered, Meyer and Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez made multiple trips to the hot zone, killing insurgents as Meyer manned the turret.
Disregarding serious shrapnel wounds that he received, Meyer left his vehicle several times searching for pinned down comrades and coalition forces. He found his comrades shot to death, but with the assistance of Army Capt. Will Swenson, Meyer carried their bodies and gear away from the village. As he received his well-deserved Medal of Honor from President Obama, Meyer requested that his fallen colleagues be remembered.
Our debt to these heroes can never be re-paid but our gratitude and respect must last forever.
For many veterans, our nation was important enough to endure long separations from their families, miss the births of their children, freeze in sub-zero temperatures, bake in wild jungles, lose limbs, and, far too often, lose their lives.
Military spouses have had to endure career interruptions, frequent changes of address, and a disproportionate share of parental responsibilities.
The children often had to endure changes in schools, separation from friends and, hardest of all, the uncertainty of whether or not Mom or Dad will live through their next combat mission.
As the leader of our nation’s largest veterans service organization, The American Legion, I recently had the opportunity to testify before a joint Congressional committee on Veterans Affairs. I reminded our lawmakers that it is not in the nature of America’s warriors to complain. Warriors endure. Warriors make do with less. Warriors finish the job, no matter how hard, no matter what is asked.
Warriors need advocates and that is why The American Legion exists. We are here to serve veterans, their families and our communities. Veterans need each other, but, more importantly, our country needs our veterans.
You cannot fight a war without warriors and while the utopian idea of a society without war is appealing, let us not forget that wars have liberated slaves, stopped genocide and toppled terrorists.
The American Legion shows its support for America’s heroes through its Family Support Network, Legacy Scholarship Fund, Operation Comfort Warriors, Temporary Financial Assistance and the National Emergency Fund, just to name a few of our programs. But you can show your support simply by saying “Thank you” to the next veteran you meet.
You can show your support by hiring a veteran in your workplace, visiting a VA hospital or donating to a veterans program. Companies should understand that it’s smart business to hire veterans, and when members of the Guard and Reserves deploy, it is America’s business to ensure that their civilian careers do not suffer.
Homelessness is another issue that affects veterans disproportionately. Too often today’s tattered citizen of the street was yesterday’s toast-of-the-town in a crisp uniform with rows of shining medals. This is hardly the “thanks of a grateful nation.”
We can do better. We must do better.
Fewer than 10 percent of Americans can claim the title “veteran.” And while the great military phrase  “uncommon valor was a common virtue,” has been so often repeated that it risks becoming a cliché, it is no less true.
In 1789 George Washington said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country.”
We must ask ourselves as a nation, are we serving veterans even half as well as they have served us?
Fang A. Wong, a Vietnam War veteran of New Brunswick, N.J., is national commander of the 2.4-million member American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans service organization.  For more information, go to www.legion.org.

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Chinook helicopter to land here for Veteran’s Day


Wayne and June Price are shown in front of a Chinook helicopter.

Cedar Springs will honor past and present veterans with the landing of a Chinook Helicopter at Skinner Field on Veteran’s Day, November 11 and a special memorial service at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
CW3 Instructor Pilot Timothy Miller, Army National Guard, based at Selfridge Army Base near Mount Clemens, and five other pilots will man the helicopter scheduled to land at 11:00 a.m. at the field located adjacent to Morley Park in downtown Cedar Springs. It will be on display for the general public following the landing.
The twin engine, tandem rotor Chinook Helicopter was first used by the U.S. Army in Vietnam to transport ground forces, supplies, ammunition and other battle critical cargo in combat and other operations. It is being brought to Cedar Springs through the efforts of resident Wayne L. Price and City Manager Christine Burns.
Price’s brother, 2nd Lt. Jack L. Price, was killed July 16, 1969 in South Vietnam while piloting a Chinook Helicopter on a test flight. Price had been in his 10th year of service in the U.S. Army and on his second tour of duty in South Vietnam when he lost his life. Read more about that in next week’s Post.
Events to take place following the landing of the helicopter at 11:00 a.m. feature a special military display at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. as well as a memorial remembrance service at Veteran’s Memorial Park at 1:00 p.m., including a prelude by the Cedar Springs High School Band; an invocation, an Armistice Day History, guest speaker Tom Noreen, U.S. Army Colonel, a firing squad and benediction.

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Chinook helicopter to land here for Veteran’s Day


Wayne and June Price are shown in front of a Chinook helicopter.

Cedar Springs will honor past and present veterans with the landing of a Chinook Helicopter at Skinner Field on Veteran’s Day, November 11 and a special memorial service at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
CW3 Instructor Pilot Timothy Miller, Army National Guard, based at Selfridge Army Base near Mount Clemens, and five other pilots will man the helicopter scheduled to land at 11:00 a.m. at the field located adjacent to Morley Park in downtown Cedar Springs. It will be on display for the general public following the landing.
The twin engine, tandem rotor Chinook Helicopter was first used by the U.S. Army in Vietnam to transport ground forces, supplies, ammunition and other battle critical cargo in combat and other operations. It is being brought to Cedar Springs through the efforts of resident Wayne L. Price and City Manager Christine Burns.
Price’s brother, 2nd Lt. Jack L. Price, was killed July 16, 1969 in South Vietnam while piloting a Chinook Helicopter on a test flight. Price had been in his 10th year of service in the U.S. Army and on his second tour of duty in South Vietnam when he lost his life.
Over the years Wayne Price had met with several soldiers who served with his brother gleaning what information he could regarding his brother’s death and in 2003 created two online memorial sites. Through them he got in touch with others who had served with his brother. One of those contacts led him to a Chinook instructor pilot based at the Selfridge Army National Guard Base in Michigan. Through that pilot Timothy Miller’s efforts and Burns, who submitted a request to the Pentagon for permission for the helicopter to be flown to Cedar Springs, Price’s wish to honor his brother and all veterans will be realized.
“I want this event to pay honor to all those who gave their lives for our country, to those who have served and to all those now serving to keep our country free,” said Wayne Price. “I understandably also want this event to pay special honor to my brother Jack. It’s been 42 years since his death and I miss what could have been.”
Price and his wife June, along with Jack’s widow, Darlene and members from the American Legion Post 287, the Cedar Springs High School Band, the Cedar Springs’ Ministerial Association, the Cedar Springs Historical Society and Dan Brown, uncle of fallen Cedar Springs soldier Timothy Brown formed the Cedar Springs Veteran’s Memorial Remembrance Committee. They have coordinated events to take place November 11.
Events to take place following the landing of the helicopter at 11:00 a.m. feature a special military display at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. as well as a memorial remembrance service at Veteran’s Memorial Park at 1:00 p.m., including a prelude by the Cedar Springs High School Band; an invocation, an Armistice Day History, guest speaker Tom Noreen, U.S. Army Colonel, a firing squad and benediction.

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