Friday, November 11, 2005

Honoring Veterans

My nephew was on KCTV5 5pm News. Today his school participated in a Veterans' Day ceremony at the Parkville National Golf Course. He was very excited when he came home talking about the army truck (humvee?), the army men marching by (he gave us an impromptu show how the men were holding their guns on their shoulders as they walked by, saluting the flag), and what I can only surmise was a military band or at least bugle and drum corps. The children sang all of the military branch songs from "Wild Blue Yonder" to "Marine Corps Hymn" and said (gasp) the pledge of allegiance (with "under God" included).

We came home and had recorded the five pm news so we wouldn't miss it. Not because we thought he'd be on there, but because we wanted to catch the local news. There, at about ten minutes into the news, they were showing all the local veterans' day observances when up pops a picture of his class singing and right there, right up front on the right hand side of the screen is my nephew. Everybody was real excited. His 15 seconds of fame. He was real excited too and started exclaiming about what he saw again.

To my nephew, there is no one more interesting or deserving of hero worship then our men and women in uniform.

Through the eyes of a child.

Honoring the youth of America who always surprise their elders who lament they are not the same as the youth of before, put on the uniform and go forward into the flames.

Just in case you think nothing good ever came out of Vietnam or it was fought for the wrong reasons - The Hmong say, "Thank you"

Friday's observances at the Liberty Memorial[Kansas City] marked the 40-year anniversary of the United States' first significant troop commitments in Vietnam.

Veterans from the former South Vietnam took part in the ceremony, as did veterans from the Hmong, a Laotian tribe allied with the U.S. in the Vietnam-era fight against communism. Many Hmong emigrated to the United States after the war.

"We would like to thank all Vietnam veterans and their families for their heroism and sacrifice during the Vietnam war," said Nguyen Hai Trieu, of the Vietnamese Veterans of Republic of Vietnam of Kansas City. "Also, to our fallen brothers and sisters, who we honor today, may they rest in peace and their memories live on."

Xao Cher Her, a Hmong veteran, noted through a translator _ his daughter, Amee _ that while more than 35,000 Hmong died in the war, "What we have gained today is friendship and freedom for about 300,000 Hmong in the United States."

And another from Blackfive John Ripley and Le Ba Binh

Dishonoring Veterans

WATERVILLE, Maine Organizers of a Veterans Day parade in Waterville, Maine, opted to skip the site of a memorial cemetery.

Normally, the parade stops at the Veterans Memorial Park cemetery.

But this year, there was an altercation between protesters and peace activists.[snip]

Last night, protesters led by a V-F-W commander faced off against peace activists who'd placed in the cemetery two-thousand white flags in memory of U-S soldiers who have died in Iraq.

The protesters tried to remove them, but police intervened. Five people were arrested.

Protest leader Wayne Elkins says the activists desecrated the veterans' grounds and that's "wrong."

Let me agree with Mr. Elkins, this is just "wrong". Of course, we've had our own problems locally.

My mom is a care taker for a lady in Tonganoxie who has a close relationship with the Frantz family. Of course, Tonganoxie really isn't that big. It is the quintessential "small town America" and everybody knows just about everybody. The pastor was at this lady's house when he got the phone call and said he had to go find Kelly and tell her the bad news. My mom got choked up when she was telling us what happened.

What they didn't show you on the news or in pictures was that, when they took this soldier to the chapel and then to the cemetary, over 300 people lined the streets with flags, the fire and police department provided escort and the slow sound of sirens telling people that a fallen hero was home echoed all over town.

Unfortunately, Phelps' group was there (about 15 people) protesting (whatever they call it). However, they were not allowed to do it without some folks showing up and blocking their view, standing shoulder to shoulder, with flags up. The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Assoc. came to town to make sure that these folks didn't get to desecrate a soldiers' funeral without someone saying they were wrong.

The school also retired Frantz's uniform and had a memorial service at the Friday night football game.

Small Town America

Lucas Frantz’s jersey was retired during an emotional pre-game ceremony that included Kelly Frantz and about 30 of her husband’s old Tonganoxie football teammates and friends.

“He went over there to fight for the people that he loved. He died for them. He died for us,” she said. “He was a wonderful man and soldier.”

Around town, flags flew at half-staff. A message on the local Sonic — where Lucas once worked as a cook and Kelly as a car-hop — thanked him for his service. At Shilling Electric Co. on the town’s main drag, Phyllis Shilling displayed American flag ribbons with black mourning ribbons.

“I think the whole town is very proud of this young soldier,” said Tonganoxie’s police chief, Kenny Carpenter. “I think they’re also very saddened that he lost his life.”[snip]

“I told him I would follow him wherever he went,” Kelly Frantz said, and the couple were married a few months later.

On Tuesday — his 22nd birthday — he was killed in Mosul. Kelly Frantz said she’d been told he was standing guard on the vehicle watching over other crew members.

She got the news from her father, who came to get her while she was helping her mother work at a preschool at the family’s church.

She said she thinks her husband would want people to remember other soldiers who are still in Iraq.

“They need all the support they can get,” she said.

I am always personally amazed at the strength and conviction of the family of soldiers.

NYSE Honors Veterans comments at Blackfive:

They were all eager to shake our hands and said "thank you, thank you, thank you" to as many of us as they could as often as they could as we passed by. It gave me goosebumps. All of us got a little choked up, but we managed to keep it together. Every year the stock exchange holds a two-minute moment of silence for all of the veterans that have served and are serving now. 3,000 people on the trading floor, but you could have heard a pin drop.

Support the troops.

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