Veterans Day once was a celebration of the silencing of cannons of World War I, Lt. Col. Kenneth Weishaar told about 100 people attending the annual Veterans Day event here late Saturday morning.
“Now it marks a day when nations around the world pause in a moment of silence with solemn pride in the remembrance of the heroism of those who have served, those who are serving, and those who died in our country’s service,” Weishaar said.
“We don’t mark this day each year as a celebration of victory, rather as a celebration of those who made victory possible. It’s the day we remember the brave men and women of this young nation — generations of them — who above all else believed in, and fought for, a set of ideals. We keep the story of their sacrifices alive though our remembrance.”
Lt. Col. Weishaar is a member of the command structure of the 891st Engineer Battalion, which has its headquarters company in Iola. He soon will become battalion commander.
“Today, our nation’s military finds itself at a strategic reflection point,” he said. “In the years ahead, we must transition from combat operations, adjust to new fiscal realities, and prepare to face a new and challenging security environment both at home and abroad. Taken together, these are no small tasks.
“Successfully adapting for the future will be important, not just for our military but also for our nation and for our states.”
Weishaar’s comments about the changing role of the military came a day after President Obama announced deployment of 1,500 troops to Iraq to perform as advisers for that country’s military as it faces off against ISIS. The decision effectively doubled the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Prior to a noon parade, which included a float carrying Vietnam veterans, black balloons were released to recognize Kansans still missing in action.
Command Sergeant Major Alfred Link, who died earlier this year, was remembered with a photograph on an empty chair. Link was the heart and soul of the Veterans Day celebration after its revival about 20 years ago.
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