Remembering the sacrifice
By SCOTT AUST
High winds on Saturday forced the cancellation of the Veterans/Patriot parade, but the program planned following the parade went on as scheduled for the most part, including a fireworks display Saturday night.
"That wind out there got too dangerous, and I didn't want anybody to be blown off of a float or anything else," Mary Nelson, parade chairwoman and event organizer, said.
With the exception of the Junior ROTC performance, the celebration scheduled later in the afternoon went on as the wind howled around the American Legion on South Main St.
Rod Bachman, of the Garden City Police Department, was guest speaker for the event and spoke about how Veterans Day is intended to honor all men and women who have served in the military, but he hoped people also think about those veterans who have died serving their country long after leaving the service.
He noted people like Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods, two Navy Seal veterans who died in September while protecting other Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Their efforts helped save 20 state department personnel.
"It's important to not only remember the price that is paid by so many veterans to maintain our freedom, but the price paid by their heartbroken families, as well," Bachman said.
Bachman cited journalist Abigail Pesta, Doherty's sister, who wrote about her brother's funeral procession and the streets lined with hundreds of people all showing support and care about her brother.
"We revere these heroes because they revered us — their families, their neighbors their fellow citizens. A country is only as good as the people in it, and a land that could produce such heroes is truly a land worth serving," Bachman said.
Bachman said the American Legion offers many support programs for families of returning veterans who must deal with severe debilitating wounds, traumatic brain injuries or post traumatic stress, but sometimes all those families may need from people is a simple, "thank you," for their loved one's service.
Additionally, Bachman asked people to remember police and firefighters who often sacrifice their lives in those careers, and who often have large percentages of veterans. He said about 30 percent of the Garden City Police Department includes military veterans.
Finally, Bachman cited comments George Washington made in 1798 when Washington said, "The willingness with which our young people will fight in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country."
Bachman said we must always be grateful for the dedication of veterans.
"God bless you all for being here. God bless our veterans, and God bless America. And to all my Marine Corps brothers out there, Happy Birthday," he said.
Paul O. Sanford, American Legion, Department of Kansas Commander, recognized members of the local American Legion Riders, which includes about 48 individuals in Garden City.
Sanford said the Riders program started 10 years ago but did not become an official program of the American Legion until two years ago. Today, there are more than 4,000 Legion riders in 90 chapters across Kansas.
The American Legion Riders raise funds nationally to help children of military parents killed in combat since 9/11 pay for college. Sanford said that more than $3 million was raised by the Riders nationally last year, and Kansas chapters raised more than $670,000, more than any other state.
Despite not getting to ride in the parade, Parade Marshal and World War II veteran Peggy Phipps, Garden City, received a certificate and special recognition for her military service. Nelson said Phipps would have rode in a carriage as the parade marshall, and she still wanted to recognize her for her service even though the parade was cancelled.
Phipps enlisted in Women's Army Corps (WAC) and was called to duty on Oct. 13, 1943, at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. After two months of basic training, Phipps was assigned to Fort Francis E. Warren Army base in Cheyenne, Wyo., where she prepared the enlisted men for their tours of duty in the Pacific Theater by assisting them with updating their records, getting their shots and preparing their wills.
When the war was ending, Phipps was assigned to Fort Carson, Colo., where she took care of the men, many of whom had been prisoners of war, as they returned from overseas.
Phipps met and married her husband, Lyle Phipps, a Garden City native, while stationed at Fort Carson. Upon her discharge, she was a staff-sergeant, and Lyle, now deceased, was a master-sergeant.
Phipps also had the opportunity to take part in one of the Honor Flights to see the WWII monument in Washington, D.C.