The event began promptly at 10:30 a.m. with opening comments from
Post Commander Michelle Ramlow. Ramlow thanked those in attendance
for coming out, and offered acknowledgment of several military
organizations represented in the crowd.
Among those in the room were representatives from the State VFW and
VFW Auxiliary, Cronin Brother’s VFW Auxiliary, the Bob Graue Marine
Corp detachment, American Legion Post 263, the Post 263 Auxiliary,
its Sons of the American Legion, Military Order of the Purple Heart,
Lincoln Police Chief Ken Greenslate and city of Lincoln Mayor Keith
Pastor Ron Otto of the Lincoln Christian Church was called on to
offer up an opening prayer. Before he turned to prayer, Otto
commented on his admiration of the military men and women in our
community. He spoke briefly about his experience as the father of a
soldier and the time he has spent on his knees praying for the
safety of his son.
Otto said he felt like he had given in his own way as a father, but
said to the veteran’s in the room, “But you have done more.”
He commented on the color guard on hand, saying that he always
appreciates doing a service where the guard is involved. He then
told the group that the guard has a joke of which he never tires. He
said, always one of them will say, “Pastor, if you go too long, one
of us has a live round.”
After the prayer, the room stood for the Pledge of Allegiance to the
Flag and the National Anthem.
Ramlow then called on the guest speaker of the day Retired Command
Sergeant Major Charles Brainard. Brainard is a Lincoln native with
28 years of service to our country.
Brainard filled a 15-minute space with a discussion of about the
United States military forces and their duties to this country.
He spoke on the foundation of Veteran’s Day as it began in 1919, a
celebration of the ending of World War I, and was called Armistice
Day. He noted that it was veteran’s organizations that influenced
the change and turned the celebration of the end of one war into a
celebration of all veterans of all wars.
Brainard talked about the military in times of war, but also noted
that it is the military that comes to the aid of those in need in
times of natural disasters. He said it was our military servants who
gave the political leaders of this nation the ability to reach out
and give to those in need. He noted that we were the only nation on
this earth that is capable of delivering such aid.
He commented, “I’m not saying we have always been the best example
of the city on the hill. But I am saying that we have always tried
to be the best example of the city on the hill. Because it was not a
politician in Washington D.C. who provided the world this great
benefit. It was the men and women in this room right now who wore
the uniform who did that. It was always the man with a bayonet, the
woman applying the bandage, the man applying the bandage, the person
supplying drinking water that make the changes in the world. It is
never the person in the top hat with the big cigar at the capital.
That person is important, make no doubt, because they create the
resources; but I have yet to ride into combat in a city like Felucia
with a Senator.”
Brainard brought up some interesting facts about the armed forces,
saying that we today have a smaller, yet more powerful and competent
military than it was in 1940. He said the power of the U.S. Military
makes them an unbeatable force. He said, "We are a nation that can
impose its will on anyone, but chooses not to."
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Brainard also talked about the quality of the military,
saying that of today’s high school seniors out of every 100
students, 79 will not qualify to enter the military. He said of
the 21 who are eligible to serve, 19 will never consider it. He
said there were only 2 out of every 100 who were able and
willing to serve.
He began his closing by asking, “So who is
it that we celebrate today?”
He called on the different units of the military and said “Look
around at that group. They come from all walks of life; they come
from all faiths; they come from all different economic levels; they
come from different schools. Veterans are every man and woman; they
are everywhere; 22 to 24 million of us. You see them at work, at
schools, shopping, and at church. They are the parents of kids
running down the street in the neighborhood. So today, let’s resolve
to make Veterans Day the day that Veteran’s deserve to have it be.
More than it is now. More important to the nation than Labor Day;
more important to the nation than stuffing themselves with turkey;
more important than a break in February on President’s Day. Each of
us needs to go from here this year and reach one, and teach one,
that their very way of life was provided to them by the men and
women we celebrate on this day.”
Brainard also commented about the
attendance in the audience, saying there were no children, no
teenagers, because they were all in school. He asked if they went to
school for the other holidays -- Thanksgiving, Christmas, Presidents
Day, Labor Day. He said that schools should not be in session. Kids
should be at Veteran’s Day celebrations such as this one.
His final comment was a thank-you to the Veteran’s in the room. He
encouraged to, if not already members, become members of the local
When Brainard had finished, two members of the Ladies Auxiliaries,
one form the VFW and one from the American Legion, did the
ceremonial placing of the wreath in honor of veterans lost.
The day closed with a three-volley salute by the American Legion
Post 263 Color Guard, the playing of taps by John Sutton, and a
closing prayer offered by Pastor Otto.
Everyone in attendance was then invited to stay for the
complimentary traditional ham and beans, and cornbread lunch.