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Pilgrimage appreciation
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Dear editor,

I read the article in the Great Bend Tribune: “American Legion to hold Eisenhower pilgrimage” (Oct. 7 issue). I am glad that the Kansas American Legion’s 38th annual “Eisenhower Pilgrimage” was made Oct. 13, to the President Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Museum adjacent to his boyhood home in Abilene. I have been to both sites as well as to his grave on the interior of the Presidential Library. 

I am also pleased that the American Legion Riders Post 240 provided a rifle salute to the ceremony. Several of my cousins are members of the American Legion Riders nationally and I thank them for their continued service.

I didn’t know until fairly recently that the founder of the American Legion was Major General George Ared White (1880-1941) and that he (like General and President Eisenhower) had a connection to Middle America. General White was born in Illinois and his father Ared H. White (born 1851) had two brothers, John White of Carthage, Ill., and Cyrus White of Oklahoma.

This year marks 100 years since the end of the Armistice of World War One, when the guns of both sides fell silent “at 11 minutes past the 11th Hour; of the 11th Month of the year 1918.” That corresponds to Nov. 11. The name of the holiday was changed in recent years to Veteran’s Day.

Let us remember all who served in “the Great War” (which was not great, except in terms of casualties). I salute both the American Legion and the separate group the Veterans of Foreign Wars for all they do in honoring America’s past and present military missions. The Eisenhower Pilgrimage doesn’t just honor one man. It honors all who served in keeping our freedoms and liberties in our beloved nation, plus it reminds all of us who live in this free country to not take those freedoms for granted. Freedom isn’t “free.” It comes at a high price for those who were killed, wounded, and the toll it took on families keeping the home-fires burning. May Almighty God Bless America, now – and always.

James A. Marples,