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Speaker says veterans have 'made the world a better place'

November 12, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HALFWAY - Harold "Sky" King, of Hagerstown, says that despite what some might think, patriotism and respect for military veterans has not dwindled over the years.

King, of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1936 in Hagerstown, said he has seen a strong turnout at the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County Veterans Day program each year.

He attended the service Sunday at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park in Halfway.

However, he has seen a decline in the number of friends still around to honor those veterans with him on Veterans Day.

"It's my friends that are dwindling," King said of the older veterans who have passed. "I lost one just yesterday."

King served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

More than 50 people were at the park Sunday with King to honor those veterans and others who served their country. Three wreaths were placed during the ceremony, which included a speech from retired Army Reserves Maj. Ron Bowers, who also is a former Washington County commissioner.

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Ronald Wayne Taylor, with the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County, said the organization is an umbrella group for all veterans groups in the county.

Bowers said the World War II generation is known as the "greatest generation" because the military went to war, and the nation went to war with them.

"Today the military went to war, and the nation didn't go with them," he said. "The nation has not been taken to war."

He said all military veterans are an example of honor and patriotism, and that their courageous and faithful service should be honored.

"Here on Veterans Day, we honor those who have served and sacrificed," Bowers said. "They've made the world a better place."

He called those who serve the best people society has to offer, and said that perhaps those who act on behalf of homeland security also should be included in Veterans Day events. On that day, Bowers said, everyone in uniform should be honored, including police and firefighters.

Representatives from Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., also spoke during the event.

Alvin Kees, of Halfway, is a member of Funkstown's American Legion Post No. 211, and said he attends the Veterans Day program each year. Kees served in the 2nd Army Division during World War II.

Kees said he attends to pass on his respect for those who served their country, and especially for those who gave their lives.

Taylor said that on Veterans Day, those who know a veteran should say "thank you."

"It's important to recognize all veterans, regardless of what they did or for how long," he said.

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