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Rain fails to dampen spirits at Chambersburg veterans service

November 12, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Festooned with flags, Memorial Square was damp and empty of people Tuesday morning, rain having canceled the Veterans Day parade.

Several blocks away, however, more than 100 veterans gathered in AMVETS Post 224 to mark the day set aside for those who have served the nation in peace and war as members of the armed forces.

"Veterans Day was named because peace, unfortunately, does not last forever," said William Vandrew of Marion, Pa., the officer of the day and past commander of the Chambersburg Area Joint Veterans Council.

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For years, it was known as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I when the fighting ceased at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. The last two World War I veterans in Franklin County, Pa., died a few years ago, but there still are 12,900 men and women veterans in the county who have served the country in peace and war since World War II.

"I would hope on this day your chest swells with pride ... as you remember the veterans and those who paid the ultimate price," Chambersburg Police Chief Michael T. DeFrank said during his address to the veterans and guests. A former Air Force military policeman, DeFrank recounted the many wars this nation has fought to preserve liberty and the global war against terrorism now being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The evil we face today has no country, no boundaries and hides among the civilian population" to conceal its identity, he said. Where the British and Soviets failed in their attempts to occupy Afghanistan in the 19th and 20th centuries, DeFrank said "the American soldier had removed the Taliban and scattered al-Qaida."

Whatever people's views are on the war, DeFrank asked that everyone continue to give veterans and active military their due for embodying the values of "loyalty, duty, respect, service, honor, integrity and courage."

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