“Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.” — Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, British essayist, poet and author.
Jake Radke did not quote directly from Dr. Johnson in his Veterans Day address, presented at the “11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month,” Thursday, but he could have as he, and a large audience braved cold, wind and even rain, to honor past and currently serving military veterans.
Calling America the “land of hope and dreams,” Radke said generations of military veterans, veterans of all services, have provided our nation with extraordinary examples of a willingness to “put country before self” and that the number of people who have benefitted from that selflessness “can hardly be calculated.”
The cost those veterans have borne and continue to bear is often overlooked and goes unnoticed too frequently.
Now, a new generation of veterans has assumed the mantel as defenders of this nation, exhibiting valor and a sense of purpose that continue to “inspire us all.”
It is up to all Americans to recognize that service and to insure that our children and our children’s children learn to appreciate all that veterans have done and to make certain that they are cared for and that their needs are met by the nation, that the nation be willing to “pick them up when they are down.”
It’s our responsibility to insure that veterans are cared for when they need it, Radke urged.
Anything less diminished the nation, he concluded.
The event Thursday morning was held in the Avenue of Flags at Veterans Park. The invocation was provided by Rev. Dick Ogle, music by the Great Bend High School band and a firing salute was provided by the World War II reenactment group.