Wenstrup is guest speaker at Monday event –
Mark Carpenter –
A crisp, chilly autumn Monday morning greeted guests gathered on the front lawn of the Adams County Courthouse as the Sycamore Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted ceremonies to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and to honor those from Adams County who served in the conflict in southeast Asia.
Becky Semple of the Sycamore Chapter DAR began the ceremony by welcoming everyone and introducing and thanking all of the invited and special guests, that included five Vietnam veterans from the county-Joe Rostine, Lawrence Young, Marty Grooms, Bill Conn, and Robert Lewis. Semple led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance
“We are gathered here today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, “ Semple told the crowd. “We recognize the sacrifices those who served our nation in this war and to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice with the laying of a wreath at the monument.”
After an opening prayer and remarks by Terry DeMint, the American Creed was read by Rose Gill and Adams County Recorder Mark Tolle sang “God Bless the USA”, a patriotic favorite of many.
Next to the podium was the guest speaker for the event, United States Congressman Brad Wenstrup, a veteran himself who serves on the Committee on Veterans Affairs and holds the rank of Lieutenant colonel in the US Army Reserves and served a tour in Iraq as a Combat Surgeon.
“You veterans are the ones who have stood between us and evil as we go about our daily lives,” said Wenstrup. “I tell people that serving in Iraq was the worst thing I ever had to do but at the same time it was the best thing that I ever got to do and that’s because of the people who I got to serve with. I served with heroes.”
Speaking to the veterans on hand, Wenstrup said, “I know that each one of you gentleman could tell me a story of someone who did something heroic and selfless. While some went off to college, others went off to serve in Vietnam as they were asked to do, only to come home unappreciated by many. Your service and heroism is not unappreciated today and it’s not unnoticed today. Teddy Roosevelt said it best when he said, ‘The credit belongs to the man who is in the arena whose face is marred by the dust and the sweat and the blood.’ You took that summons and responsibility and didn’t shirk it.”
“When I hear the National Anthem, I think of those that have saved us and what they have given us time and time again throughout our history,” Wenstrup continued. “With the actions of the veterans come the dreams of freedom for millions of people, not just in America but around the world. You answered a call to defend a country you never knew and a people you never met, but from your efforts, the world realized the difference between freedom and communism. Because of the fire for freedom that you lit in Vietnam, we saw the world change for the better. Because of the fire for freedom that you lit, walls were torn down and dozens of nations were liberated to democracy. Your sacrifices were not in vain.”
“Through it all you were what others cared not to be, you went where others feared to go, you did what others failed to do, and you asked nothing from those that gave nothing. God bless you and God bless America.”
A special wreath was made for the commemoration by Gayla Fritzhand of JZN Farms and the ceremony concluded with Bill Conn, President of Adams County Veterans Services, having the honor of placing that wreath in front of the War Memorial on the courthouse lawn, while members of the crowd remembered those who gave their lives in Vietnam and “Taps” was played by West Union High School student Jamison McClanahan.