Archive for Tuesday, November 12, 1996

LAWRENCE HONORS VETS

November 12, 1996

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Local veterans celebrated Veterans Day Monday with a program at the American Legion hall.

Some wore their American Legion caps, dark suits and hearing aids.

Others were clad in jeans, camouflage shirts and black and gold caps identifying them as Vietnam or Desert Storm veterans.

Still other former servicemen and women just dressed in their civilian clothes as they participated in Monday's Veterans Day program in Lawrence.

"Most of these veterans are unsung heroes," said Maj. Jane Harris, an assistant professor of military science at Kansas University.

Harris was among several speakers at the program held at the Dorsey-Liberty Post 14 of the American Legion, 3408 W. Sixth.

"The tribute that we pay to our veterans is not enough. It can never be enough. You can never say it too many times," Harris said. "We are the children of their sacrifice, and we are grateful."

She said there are 26 million Americans living today who served in the armed services. More than 1 million died serving their country in uniform, she said.

The program featured speeches, a flag ceremony and a 21-gun salute to the veterans who have died.

About 200 people attended the ceremony, including members of the American Legion, Chapter 22 of the Disabled American Veterans and Auxiliary and the Alford-Clarke Post 852 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary.

Among those gathered were 55 students from Marion Springs Elementary School in southern Douglas County.

Gus Wegner, the school's principal, said he brought the students so they could learn more about the important role that the military has played.

"So often, it's a holiday that goes unnoticed, more than it should," he said. "As a veteran myself, it's nice for the kids to get a better understanding of what the military has done for the country."

Lawrence Mayor John Nalbandian, a Vietnam veteran, said after the program that Veterans Day brings to him ideas of courage, loyalty, sacrifice and commitment to greater purposes.

"And it also makes me remember the friendships and the camaraderie," Nalbandian said.

Don McDow, commander of the local American Legion post, said Veterans Day is an emotional time.

"I kind of get a lump in my throat thinking about these guys who have put their lives on the line and are still continuing to do so," McDow said. "Without any question, they went where they were asked to serve and a lot of them didn't come back."

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