In a Veteran’s Day proclamation 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy said “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Kennedy, who was a PT boat commander in World War II, knew the sacrifices one must give in order to safeguard not only our country, but the world at large.
Veteran’s Day first began being memorialized in 1918 when World War I was declared over. Of course we know the term used sometimes to refer to WWI as “The war to end all wars” was more hopeful than realistic. With each ensuing Veteran’s Day over the past 95 years, more and more have served and fallen for our country, including many from St. Charles Parish.
As Veteran’s Day 2013 came and went this past Monday, the parish hosted ceremonies in honor of those local soldiers who have served.
This most notable of which was on display at the fallen soldiers monument located in front of St. Gertrude’s Church in Des Allemands. The Hahnville High School ROTC program honored local soldiers at the memorial and brought out a number of area residents for the event.
At the courthouse in Hahnville, the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, local officials and parish residents gathered for an annual flagpole ceremony.
Korean War veteran and Luling resident Linton Bergeron was one of those present at the flagpole ceremony. He is the subject of a profile this week in the Herald-Guide’s Lifestyles section. Bergeron’s story is one of many across the parish and one of a few that the Herald-Guide has partnered with the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars to tell in St. Charles Parish.
In the past we have also shared the exploits of 95-year-old Luling native Capt. Richard Kelle,r who narrowly escaped a WWII Pacific island battlefield with his life after receiving a sniper wound to his neck.
In the present day, our coverage has expanded to Destrehan native Kyle Haydel who was twice deployed as a Marine in Afghanistan and received the Navy Commendation Medal for saving the lives of his fellow soldiers in two firefights.
It is in these examples, as well as countless others yet untold, that we see those around us match Kennedy’s suggestion to live not by words alone, but also by our actions. One can only hope those actions, which are so often taken for granted, are given a second thought at least one day a year.