Posted on

Sixth grader has insight into veterans’ sacrifice

Despite brisk, blustery weather, about 50 attentive persons stood in the cold on the square in Corydon Saturday for a brief but moving ceremony in honor of the nation’s veterans.
‘I think veterans are important because they are the ones who have made America what it is today,’ Sara Hausz wrote in an essay that was read to the crowd. ‘They helped make America a free country. They risked their lives for America and for you and me.
‘Even before I was born, veterans I never knew or will never know gave up a lot for me so that I may live in a land of opportunities that otherwise I wouldn’t have.
‘Without our veterans, we wouldn’t have freedom of speech, freedom of religion or freedom from anything. Our veterans gave us these things and more.’
VFW Old Capitol Post 2950 Commander James Bussey in Corydon read the essay by Hausz, a sixth grader at St. John’s Lutheran School at Lanesville.
One of the veterans whom Hausz reminds one and all to honor is her grandfather, Clarence Hausz, who served in the Korean War.
Americans owe gratitude not just to him but all veterans, Hausz said. She suggested thanking a veteran in person or taking a step further and say: ‘I owe you a lot for your service to my country, and to repay you I promise to get a good education, to obey the law, and to make something of my life.’
During the ceremony, hands or hats covered hearts and others saluted as ‘Taps’ was played for deceased veterans, MIAs and POWs.
Korean War veteran Ernest Heishman Jr. of Corydon served with Clarence Hausz in the 45th Division, U.S. Army Infantry. He was on hand Saturday afternoon to hear his friend’s granddaughter’s well-thought-out essay. ‘It brings back a lot of memories,’ he said later. ‘I thought that it was really touching; it made the vets feel good.’
Harrison County Veterans Service Officer Marion Wallace gave the keynote address (the scheduled speaker, Charles Eckart, was unable to attend).
Wallace said in 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month, the world rejoiced when World War I ended. The armistice was signed and, after four years of bitter fighting, the ‘war to end all wars’ was finally over.
A Congressional resolution declared Armistice Day in 1926. It was proclaimed a national holiday 12 years later, but it was not to remain the ‘war to end all wars.’ A couple of years after that, World War II (1940-1945) broke out in Europe. The ‘Korean Conflict’ was fought from 1950 to 1953, and the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1975.
Fifteen years of relative peace ended with the Gulf War, 1990-1991; then the Afghanistan War in the wake of 9/11, and the on-going war in Iraq, which began in March 2003.
Statistics from Wallace show 42.3 million men and women have served in the military during war and 651,008 have died in battle. There have been 1.4 million wounded in battle. Today there are 17.5 million living war veterans and 25 million living veterans.
In Harrison County, Wallace said there are 3,500 veterans.
Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of WW II and Korea, Congress named Nov. 11 Veterans Day to honor all those who served America in war.
‘Veterans Day is not primarily for the veteran as much as it is for all of us,’ Wallace said. ‘Veterans Day is not only for remembrance but a definite reminder that our enjoyed freedoms are not a right or privilege, but that the freedoms we Americans have were earned in conflict as well as in readiness to defend.
‘We in America salute the veterans and all that take the privilege and the obligation to enter the ranks that our veterans emerge … From these ranks are the many men and women who have served and died or were wounded in the many battles and wars that have been fought to establish and secure for us and many nations around the world the freedom which is so sought and envied by those who do not have these coveted freedoms,’ Wallace said.
Wallace said the VFW here chooses to celebrate Veterans Day on the following Saturday rather than Nov. 11 so it does not conflict with services elsewhere. Also, he said, ‘More people are off on Saturday and available and able to attend.’