Veterans honored at Amelia program

The village of Amelia thanked and honored local veterans and current members of the military at its third annual Salute to Heroes ceremony.

The celebration and ceremony, which took place at the Amelia Elementary School on Veteran’s Day, was attended by more than 100 people.

“We are here to recognize that military personnel do not serve their country for praise or any attention that they might receive,” said Amelia Mayor Mark Menz. “I believe that their reasons are more in line with protecting our way of life and helping those who need our help.”

In his introductory remarks, Menz said that that anything of value is never free.

“The past and present American military person understands that better than anyone else,” he said. “Today, we honor and hear from a few of our local heroes who have just done their part. Today, we let them know that their sacrifice was worth that price because the price of freedom will always be high.”

Speaking of that immeasurable cost of freedom at the emotional ceremony was Vietnam War veteran Jody Walriven, wounded Iraqi War veteran Staff Sergeant Paul Brondhaver, and newly re-elected State Representative Joseph Uecker.

Veteran’s Day first became known as Armistice Day when the Germans called for a truce, ending WWI in Nov 1918. The following year, President Wilson declared Armistice Day as day of remembrance; it wasn’t until 1938 that the Congress passed a bill officially recognizing Nov. 11 as Armistice Day. Later, FDR made it a national holiday. It was not officially known as Veteran’s Day in 1953.

“The number of veterans that have participated in the protection and preservation of our freedoms and liberties is staggering,” said Uecker in his remarks. “There are 42,334,460 veterans in this country and I have a softness in my heart for each and every one of them.”

Uecker, who has two children serving in the military, said that he is one of the most ardent supporters of the hundreds of thousands who have served and died so freely for the three main concepts of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“Today we realize and honor the sacrifices of those veterans who have given us those immortal and most cherished freedoms,” he said. “Because of this and many other reasons, the U.S. veteran is to be respected and revered. He or she is why we are free to meet here today.”

The ceremony included a benediction by the Reverend Rick Kelley, musical performances by the Amelia Methodist Church and Bell Choir, and a memorial depicting pictures and memorabilia of past and current veterans.