First and foremost, a huge THANK YOU to all veterans and the men and women serving in our armed forces. We appreciate the dedication, commitment, and sacrifices that you have all made to protect our country and allow us the freedoms we so often take for granted.
As many of you know, one of my favorite places in St. Ansgar is the American Legion Hall. When I first moved back to town, I didn’t realize that it was open to the public until some guys talked me into joining them at Stag Night. Seeing the enthusiastic interaction between men of all ages and backgrounds was amazing. Everyone was having a great time, sharing stories, and enjoying the company of friends.
But “The Legion” is more than just a building with a bar and kitchen. It is a place where veterans and citizens alike can stop in to relax and know they are among friends, even if they are surrounded by strangers. It’s where you can spend a few hours listening to stories of an 18-year old boy, travelling half way around the world to defend his country, from the mouth of a retired insurance man, postal worker, or electrician. And it’s where these defenders of freedom meet in uniform before they march to the cemetery to lay one of their own to rest.
In our special section dedicated to the men and women who have served, we have included a few of the stories that have probably been shared at many stag nights, and other random evenings. Our goal is to make this an ongoing project – to recall some events that more people should hear. These are pieces of history, both for our country and for our town. The impact of these stories is told on the face of an older vet as you listen to their recollections. Although there may be deep lines of life on their skin, an unsteady hand, or a crack in their voice, the young man comes alive in the sparkle of their eyes, or the tears that well and fall.
We hope that these entries do justice to the individuals that are willing to share their experiences, both good and bad. It’s important that they are told, and never forgotten. Please feel free to let us know if there are stories that we should know about, or people that we should sit down and talk to.
I’ll see you at “The Legion”!