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Veterans Day celebrated in Rugby

By Staff | Nov 18, 2016

American Legion Clarence Larson Post #23 Commander Kirk Seaver (left, at podium) introduces honored guests at the Veterans Day program in Rugby. Pictured (left to right): HAMC Chaplain Gary Dorn; John Gustafson, veteran, Operation Enduring Freedom; McHenry County Veteran Service Officer and guest speaker Jim Davenport; Jacque Seaver, American Legion Auxiliary; Josh Siegler, veteran, Operation Iraqi Veteran; Johnie Sander, veteran, Vietnam War; Martin Heintz, veteran, Korean War; Duane Baillie, veteran, World War II. (Bryce Berginski/PCT)

How to describe what it takes for one to become a veteran.

That was a question posed by guest speaker and McHenry County Veterans Services officer Jim Davenport during the Veterans Day address at the Veterans Day program last week at the Memorial Hall in Rugby.

Four program attendees responded with:





In his address, Davenport said there were hundreds of adjectives.

“It’s a passion in here [pointing to heart], for the love of country, to do my duty, to keep everybody free,” Davenport said.

Davenport, an Air Force combat veteran who served in Vietnam, said the country has experienced horrors in five conflicts in recent history. What horrors experienced in World War I, the experience was then used in World War II

“They tried to see to it that no generation had to do that,” Davenport said.

Davenport discussed the Korean War, or “the silent conflict.” Davenport said soldiers who fought in Korea and Vietnam suffered the same and at times fought battles they had no idea were for a bigger purpose.

On Vietnam, Davenport said it was the first conflict that had been seen by people on a daily basis, which in turn brought a different mindset of what war was about.

On the Iraq and Afghan wars, Davenport said there were horrors no one was ready for.

Davenport said over 83,000 troops who didn’t come home cannot be forgotten. Davenport said the U.S. government reclaims an estimated 700 dead or missing per year, but there are an estimated 330 missing from North Dakota.

Davenport encouraged attendees to take a second to thank and shake the hands of veterans, and that a way to thank veterans would be to take care of them now.

Davenport said that veterans are eligible to apply for pensions from Veterans Affairs, and that health conditions resulting from exposure to Agent Orange-a herbicide and defoliant used by the U.S. Military from 1961 to 1971 during the Vitenam War-are eligible for compensation and treatment.

Davenport said that veterans seeking help from the VA should seek help from trained navigators, especially their area veterans service officers.

“Go to your veterans service officer,” Davenport said. “We do it because it’s in our hearts and we want to help veterans.”

Davenport said the most important message was to “not forget our veterans.”

Davenport told the story of Capt. Charlie Plumb, author of “I’m No Hero”, who was captured and taken as a prisoner of war after being shot down on his 75th combat mission over Vietnam. While imprisoned, Plumb met with members of the International Red Cross, one of whom was wearing a bracelet. Plumb asked what the bracelet was for, to which Red Cross members said it was a message that prisoners of war were not forgotten.

Also speaking at the event were Operation Enduring Freedom veteran John Gustafson; and Clarence Larson American Legion Post 23 commander Kirk Seaver gave the Commanders Address.

(sidebar) Legion post seeking members

The Clarence Larson Post 23 is seeking additional members. If you have served in any of the four branches of the military, active duty, the National Guard or the Reserves during the eligibility dates you qualify. Please contact Mike Christenson at 771-2077, Chuck Teigen at 208-0859 or any Post 23 Legion member.

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