Veterans Day ceremony honors those who served

'We are grateful for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'

BALDWIN — Veterans were honored at VFW Peacock Post No. 5315, on Veterans Day, with members of the local VFW, AMVETS and American Legion posts coming together for a ceremony and meal.

VFW Post No. 5315 Post Commander Dave Woodman welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming.

Woodman recognized two World War II veterans who were present, ages 96 and 95. He also paid tribute to veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam veterans, and those who served in the Middle East the past few decades, as well as other service men and women who were in attendance.

"These veterans answered the call to their country in war and peace time, and we are thankful for all of you," Woodman said, adding unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day celebrates all veterans, those who survived war and those who didn't.

Woodman presented a brief history of the holiday, which began as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, which was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

"This hope of the war to end all wars was proved wrong when Pearl Harbor was bombed, and then later Korea," Woodman said. "In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower declared Nov. 11 as a day to honor all veterans of all wars, and the name was changed to Veterans Day. Every generation of Americans owe our gratitude to those who served.

"For many of us who served in war, it is hard to think of this as a happy day when we think of those we lost."

To commemorate the fallen, the Lake County Honor Guard presented a rifle salute, followed by the sonber playing of The Taps.

Woodman then introduced Patriot Pen essay winner, Reed City 8th-grader Daniela Dienes, with this year's theme being, "How can I be a Good American."

Dienes was presented a check for $100. She then shared her essay, which encouraged others to be good Americans by reaching out and helping others, such as joining community organizations, engaging the elederly and people in nursing homes, joining a local VFW Post, and helping out people one's own age or younger.

Woodman said Dienes' mother is a member of the VFW Post, and she will be as well when she turns 16.

Sheriff Rich Martin, member of the VFW Auxiliary through his grandfather who served during Pearl Harbor, presented a check of $1,000 to the VFW Auxiliary from cans and bottles donated by the community, a project which has added up to $30,000 to go toward local causes.

Chaplain Eddie DeYoung closed the ceremony with prayer, mentioning, "We are grateful for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," ending with a moment of silence.