Why we celebrate

By Congressman Brad Wenstrup – 

“To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with – solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.” _ On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed these words in an address to mark the first celebration of Armistice Day – exactly one year after the end of World War I. Seven years later on June 4, 1926, Congress adopted a resolution requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for the observance of November 11. And, on May 13, 1938, a Congressional Act was approved making the 11th of November each year a legal holiday: “_a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day_.” Later, Armistice Day was expanded to celebrating all veterans, not just those of World War I. So today we celebrate Veterans Day. This brief history of Armistice Day and the celebration of the end of World War I explains why we celebrate Veterans Day specifically on this day — November 11. But the real reason behind the celebration is the recognition of our veterans themselves — the men and women who put service above self and served their country. Our veterans, and their stories of service, are why each year we gather in high schools, churches, VFW Posts, and American Legion halls. We do this to thank them for the time they spent serving our nation, and to celebrate the freedom we enjoy thanks to them. We celebrate to say thank you. We celebrate Harry V. Shoop of Lynchburg, OH. Harry V. Shoop was born in New Jersey in 1921, moved to Washington Court House, OH, at age 3, and has since been a longtime resident of Lynchburg, OH. On October 20, 1940, Harry entered active duty service with the Ohio National Guard and was assigned to Ohio’s 37th Infantry Division and then to the 38th Infantry Division. While on active duty, Harry rose through the ranks and was promoted to platoon sergeant in both companies B & H with the 149th Infantry Regiment. During the re-taking of the Philippines during the infamous battle of Zig Zag Pass, Mr. Shoop and his unit saw 198 consecutive days of combat. This is where Harry’s hand was hit by enemy fire – but he quickly wrapped it and continued to fight. Harry spent 6 weeks in the 80th General Hospital in Manilla. He was honorably discharged from active duty on November 9, 1945, as Technical Sargeant. We celebrate Frank Buschmeyer of Milford, OH. Frank W. Buschmeier was born in Milford, OH, in 1923 and entered active duty service on January 27, 1943 – at age 19. He was trained as a flight crew member with the United States Army Air Corps, assigned to the 100th Bomber Group, 350th Bomb Squadron. Frank was then attached to the Gibbon’s Crew (named for pilot 2nd LT John Gibbons) with the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress – the plane was affectionately named “Miss Irish.” Sgt. Frank Buschmeier served as a ‘left waist gunner’ aboard the Miss Irish. On March 19, 1944, the Miss Irish was shot down by German flak, but the experienced and calm flight crew was able to successfully land the plane. This terrifying experience was just one of many harrowing situations Sgt. Buschmeier would endure in battle. The remaining crewmembers of the Miss Irish were assigned to another plane. On July 29, 1944, while on their 34th “pick up” mission, they were shot down over Merseberg, Germany. This time, Sgt. Buschmeier was captured by the German army and held captive for 10 months in a German prison camp. Frank was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Air Corps on October 29, 1945. Throughout this week leading up to Veterans Day through social media, I’ve been sharing stories of veterans from Ohio’s Second District, like Harry and Frank, so that everyone can be reminded of our veterans’ bravery and patriotism. Each story is unique. Each veteran has carved out their chapter in history. Our communities are filled with men and women who have served their country – you pass them in the grocery store aisles, we see them in the memorial park, and we see them being honored today. The next time you see a veteran, ask them about what serving their country was like. Their story could change your perspective. Our veterans serve as a reminder of those who answered the call of a country who needed them, and asked for nothing in return. Their families know sacrifice better than any of us – watching their loved ones head off to war with an unclear future. They were first to the fight. They were the last to ask for anything in return. To all veterans in Ohio’s Second District and across the country who fought for us – thank you. I hope we can continue to fight for you. Happy Veterans Day.

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