By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
DAV commander delivers Veterans Day speech
Vets Day 2020 main

Veterans Memorial Park’s Avenue of Flags was the site of a Veterans Day program Wednesday morning, hosted this year by the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 27.

Katharine Piper, chapter chaplain, delivered opening and closing prayers, asking God to grant the vision to see the gifts of freedom and democracy delivered by those who served our country.

The American flag was presented, along with flags representing Great Bend veterans groups and their auxiliaries: the DAV, American Legion Post 180 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3111.

There was also patriotic music by the Great Bend High School marching band, directed by Grant Mathews. Music included “The Star Spangled Banner,” a musical salute to all branches of the Armed Forces, and “Taps” was played at the end to honor deceased veterans.

Veterans Day speech

The following remarks are from the speech delivered by DAV Chapter 27 Commander Martin Bryant.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

First and foremost, I want to begin today by recognizing all those among us who have been a part of the great brotherhood and sisterhood we call the U.S. military – our veterans, active-duty service members, guardsmen and reservists. Your service and sacrifice have kept our country safe and free. 

Veterans Day looks a lot different this year than it has in the past. Our current state of affairs and the protective measures implemented across the country to stop the spread of COVID-19 have forced us to think creatively to ensure we stay safe while honoring our nation’s heroes.

The same was true a century ago as the world’s population was finally beginning to recover from another pandemic – the Spanish flu. For disabled World War I Army veteran Judge Robert Marx, an idea was beginning to take shape during those tumultuous times that would impact the lives of countless veterans and their families for generations to come.

He had witnessed how his fellow veterans fared after returning home from the war, many seriously disabled and unable to find work or access proper medical care. He saw how few resources existed to aid those who served so honorably in the nation’s defense, and he vowed to bring about change.

And, indeed, he did. Judge Marx founded the Disabled Veterans of the World War – now known as DAV – to advocate for the men and women who risked all for the sake of this country, particularly those who were injured or became ill in the course of doing so.

This year, as we mark Veterans Day and honor our nation’s veterans and their selfless courage, we would be remiss if we did not also take the time to celebrate Judge Marx and the legacy he left behind, which enables us to do the work we do for veterans still today.

We are in the business of not giving up the fight for veterans. We want everyone who served to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. That is a mission we live day in and day out as part of the veteran community. We will not leave a brother or sister behind.

By joining organizations like DAV and getting involved, we can connect with fellow veterans in a unique way to those of us who wore the uniform. I encourage all of you to find ways to involve yourself in caring for those who bear the physical, emotional and psychological scars of war; get to know them and ensure they know you’ve got their six – especially during this time of social distancing and isolation.

Sometimes just sitting down to engage with a veteran or their family member to talk can go a long way. Call. Email. Reach out online. No matter how, keep connecting.

Thank you for taking the time to remember our heroes. They never gave up on us, and we can’t give up on them.

God bless you all, bless our veterans and bless the United States of America.