Yongsan Garrison community honors sacrifice of veterans
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Community members young and old, civilian and military, American and South Korean gathered Friday morning near the 8th Army Headquarters to honor Veterans Day.
“In the past 50 years America’s professional and citizen soldiers have been called upon time and time again to defend liberty,” master-of-ceremonies Grant Stombaugh told the gathering, arranged by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Pacific Area District III, Korea.
Stombaugh read a list of places — including Vietnam, Cambodia, Beirut, Bosnia, Somalia, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq — where “thousands have died.”
He also reminded everyone that there is another group of Americans to continue honoring.
“They are our missing-in-action and prisoners of war,” he said. “The Veterans of Foreign Wars … shall not forget, for we believe that America is number one thanks to its veterans, and these veterans will do anything for this country.”
Dave Teets, VFW Department of the Pacific area commander, and Lt. Gen. Charles Campbell, 8th U.S. Army commander, served as guest speakers.
Teets thanked the community for helping “to pay homage to our fallen veterans of long ago.”
He asked those in attendance to also take the time thank young servicemembers.
Campbell pointed out that two months ago the fourth anniversary of the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on the United States was marked. He said America’s enemies have learned a hard lesson since the attacks, that the military “answers when our nation calls.”
He described America as fierce in battle, but compassionate in peace.
Campbell said no other nation has so often placed its “sons and daughters in harm’s way” so that other nations and other people could be free.
And “the defense of freedom is worth that sacrifice,” he said.
Campbell said there are 27 million veterans alive today in America.
“Many are heroes,” he said, but many are ordinary people who became extraordinary because they answered their nation’s call.
“It is the American tradition and custom that every generation sacrifice for freedom,” he said. “Veterans know that freedom isn’t free.”