2014-11-12 / Front Page

Students, Community Come Together To Honor Veterans

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer


U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran, Indiana District 44 State Representative Jim Baird (left) accepts the American flag from cadet Jason Rybolt following Tuesday’s flag-folding ceremony held at OVHS. (Staff Photo) U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran, Indiana District 44 State Representative Jim Baird (left) accepts the American flag from cadet Jason Rybolt following Tuesday’s flag-folding ceremony held at OVHS. (Staff Photo) Military veterans from each branch of service received multiple standing ovations throughout Tuesday morning’s Veterans Day program held at Owen Valley High School.

Indiana District 44 State Representative Jim Baird of Greencastle, who served as a convey commander with the U.S. Army’s 523rd Transportation Company during the Vietnam War, served as the morning’s featured speaker.

Baird was introduced by OVHS Air Force Junior ROTC Instructor Lt. Col. (ret.) Dave Allen, who noted how the soldier turned public servant’s duty as a convey commander came about due to his infantry training, knowledge of weapons and effective use of fire power.

“In that capacity, his unit used gun trucks, armed with 50-caliber machine guns to provide convey security,” Allen told the students. “After losing his arm as a result of an ambush by hostile forces, Baird was honorably discharged in 1972 with the Bronze Star of Valor, the Army Accommodation Medal with gold leaf cluster, two Purple Hearts, the Meritorious Service Award, Expert Rating in Jungle Warfare, Expert Rifleman and Transportation Hall of Fame.”


U.S. Army and World War II veteran Harold Bostic of Spencer is escorted to his seat for Tuesday morning’s Veterans Day program at OVHS by Air Force Junior ROTC junior cadet Alyssa Day. (Staff Photo) U.S. Army and World War II veteran Harold Bostic of Spencer is escorted to his seat for Tuesday morning’s Veterans Day program at OVHS by Air Force Junior ROTC junior cadet Alyssa Day. (Staff Photo) Baird accepted a perfectly folded American flag following a flagfolding ceremony conducted by Air Force Junior ROTC cadets before sharing the day’s message.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you are taking the time here to celebrate Veterans Day as we pay a tribute to all of the veterans who have donned the uniform of the United States Armed Forces,” he said. “I’m especially appreciative because when we came home we weren’t received extremely well, and I’m not crying about that. Of the Vietnam veterans, 74 percent of us said we would go do it again. We are very proud of our service, very proud of our country and we’re very proud that you’re here today to celebrate those veterans who have given so much for the freedoms we enjoy.”


Some placed their hand over their hearts while others saluted during the playing of Taps late Tuesday morning on the Owen County Courthouse lawn. (Staff Photo) Some placed their hand over their hearts while others saluted during the playing of Taps late Tuesday morning on the Owen County Courthouse lawn. (Staff Photo) Baird said he considered it an honor to follow in the footsteps of U.S. Army Sergeant Sammy L. Davis, Indiana’s only living Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, who served as the featured speaker at last year’s Veterans Day program at OVHS. Baird, along with Indiana District 46 State Representative Bob Heaton, were responsible for authoring legislation that resulted in highway signs being installed that recognize Davis as being an Owen County resident.


U.S. Army Col. (ret.) Scott Haraburda of Spencer speaks to the crowd gathered near the “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue on the northwest lawn of the Owen County Courthouse during Tuesday’s community Veterans Day program. (Staff Photo) U.S. Army Col. (ret.) Scott Haraburda of Spencer speaks to the crowd gathered near the “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue on the northwest lawn of the Owen County Courthouse during Tuesday’s community Veterans Day program. (Staff Photo) “I think that says a lot about the community and the kind of people and Patriots you have in this area. (Sammy Davis) lives right here among us and, to me, when you look at the outstanding things he did, it’s just amazing,” Baird noted. “I take my hat off to him, to your community for the kind of people we have and the kind of veterans we have in this part of the country.”


OVHS Air Force Junior ROTC Instructor Lt. Col. (ret.) Dave Allen addresses the student body on Veterans Day. OVHS Air Force Junior ROTC Instructor Lt. Col. (ret.) Dave Allen addresses the student body on Veterans Day. Baird also gave a brief history lesson concerning the day’s origin as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, marking the end of World War I, then thought of as the ‘War To End All Wars.’

“In 1954, they decided to exchange ‘Veterans’ for ‘Armistice,’ so it became Veterans Day,” Baird said.

According to Baird, 4,734,991 U.S. soldiers served in World War I; 16,122,566 in World War II; 5,720,000 during the Korean Conflict; 8,744,000 in the Vietnam War; 19,230,000 during the Gulf War; and more than 2,000,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s been a pleasure to see these veterans recognized,” Baird told the students. “There are two things about veterans I want you to know; one is that they absolutely hate to go to war, it’s the last thing they want to do. It’s probably because they understand the consequences and how severe they are on the families, themselves, and friends. I hope you will remember them, because some of you will be in decisions about whether we should or shouldn’t go to war. The time to decide whether or not you want to go to war is before the first shot is fired. Then if you do decide that’s the right thing to do, for God’s sake, give those men and women everything you’ve got. If you want to go into a fight, don’t go into a fight with a knife, when everybody else has got a gun. Make sure you back them up, give them all the support they need, all the supplies they need and you’ll have the best military in the world right here in the United States.”


U.S. Army Colonel (ret.) Scott S. Haraburda of Spencer speaks to the crowd gathered on the county courthouse lawn for Tuesday’s Veterans Day ceremony. U.S. Army Colonel (ret.) Scott S. Haraburda of Spencer speaks to the crowd gathered on the county courthouse lawn for Tuesday’s Veterans Day ceremony. Later in the morning, U.S. Army Col. (ret.) Scott Haraburda of Spencer spoke to a crowd of nearly 50 gathered for a community Veterans Day program held near the “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue on the northwest lawn of the Owen County Courthouse.


Owen Valley High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadets conduct a flag-folding ceremony as part of the school’s Veterans Day program. Pictured are, left to right: Caitlin Myers, Aaron Combs, Jason Rybolt, Zeke Adams, Tyler Parsons and Thaddeus Sheese. Owen Valley High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadets conduct a flag-folding ceremony as part of the school’s Veterans Day program. Pictured are, left to right: Caitlin Myers, Aaron Combs, Jason Rybolt, Zeke Adams, Tyler Parsons and Thaddeus Sheese. “I feel honored to be standing up here in honoring our veterans. As you know, Veterans Day is an American holiday honoring military veterans. In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated. After many years of bitter war, an armistice was signed. The ‘war to end all wars’ was over. In 1954, it became a day to recognize all who had served,” Haraburda began. “It’s important that we remember them always. Without veterans, there would be no ‘land of the free.’ There would be no United States of America. You have made our military the most respected in the world, and have helped protect our way of life.”


Owen County Veterans Services Officer Mike Harvey addresses the crowd gathered for Tuesday morning’s Veterans Day program in Spencer. Owen County Veterans Services Officer Mike Harvey addresses the crowd gathered for Tuesday morning’s Veterans Day program in Spencer. Haraburda noted that while Tuesday was a day to honor and thank our nation’s veterans, our thanks shouldn’t be reserved for just one day each year.

“To thank our veterans, we must take an active role in maintaining our freedoms. We must teach our children what it means to be an American. We must volunteer and help our communities. We must vote in elections. And, we must try to make America the very best it can be. And don’t underestimate the power of simply saying ‘thank you’ to veterans that you encounter,” he said. “The valor that defined warriors from previous generations continues today, even here in Spencer, Indiana. I still remember the events here about three years ago. Thousands of people lined the streets on September 18, 2011, and stood in the rain for a few hours to pay tribute to Private First Class Brett Wood. He was a member of 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and made the supreme sacrifice a week and a half earlier in Afghanistan, dying at age 19 because of wounds inflicted by a roadside bomb.”


Melva Needham from the Spencer VFW Post #1405 Ladies Auxiliary places a wreath at the base of the “Spirit of The American Doughboy” statue on the courthouse lawn in remembrance of all U.S. military veterans. Melva Needham from the Spencer VFW Post #1405 Ladies Auxiliary places a wreath at the base of the “Spirit of The American Doughboy” statue on the courthouse lawn in remembrance of all U.S. military veterans. Haraburda added that while America owes each of these heros a debt that cannot be paid, showing appreciation is the very least that can be done.


Local military veterans from all branches of service were in attendance for Tuesday morning’s Veterans Day program at Owen Valley High School. Local military veterans from all branches of service were in attendance for Tuesday morning’s Veterans Day program at Owen Valley High School. “In spite of the sacrifices that nearly all veterans have made and the horrors that some have experienced, the overwhelming majority are proud to have served. Fortunately, for all of us, America has been blessed throughout its history by many such men and women,” he noted. “Our nation has fought to protect humanity from oppression, tyranny, and to uphold a common freedom. However, this did not come without casualties. We join here today to recognize the valiant efforts of the millions of men and women who put their country before self and became part of history. We owe our freedom, our happiness, and our lives in gratitude to our veterans.”


Maggie Traux from the Spencer VFW Ladies Auxiliary serves lunch to Scott Haraburda, Joe Hutcherson and Paul Schoonmaker during Tuesday’s Veterans Day luncheon at the VFW Post #1405. Maggie Traux from the Spencer VFW Ladies Auxiliary serves lunch to Scott Haraburda, Joe Hutcherson and Paul Schoonmaker during Tuesday’s Veterans Day luncheon at the VFW Post #1405. Haraburda ended the morning with lines from “It’s A Soldier,” a poem written by Charles Province.

“It is the veteran, not the minister or priest, who gave us the freedom of religion.

“It is the veteran, not the reporter or editor, who gave us the freedom of the press.

“It is the veteran, not the lawyer or judge, who gave us the right to a fair trial.

“It is the veteran, not the politician or lawmaker, who gave us the right to vote.”



Members of the Owen Valley High School Band perform during the school’s Veterans Day program held Tuesday morning in the main gymnasium. Members of the Owen Valley High School Band perform during the school’s Veterans Day program held Tuesday morning in the main gymnasium.

U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran, Indiana District 44 State Representative Jim Baird accepts an American flag and display case from Air Force Junior ROTC senior cadet Chris Erb. U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran, Indiana District 44 State Representative Jim Baird accepts an American flag and display case from Air Force Junior ROTC senior cadet Chris Erb.

World War II veteran David Freeman of Spencer speaks with Air Force Junior ROTC cadets Jordan Hughes and Brandon Bedolla. World War II veteran David Freeman of Spencer speaks with Air Force Junior ROTC cadets Jordan Hughes and Brandon Bedolla.

Members of the Owen County Honor Guard present the Colors during Tuesday’s program held on the courthouse lawn. Pictured are, left to right are: Donna Rice, Don Jackson, Bill Price, Ed Roy and Ron Henry. Members of the Owen County Honor Guard present the Colors during Tuesday’s program held on the courthouse lawn. Pictured are, left to right are: Donna Rice, Don Jackson, Bill Price, Ed Roy and Ron Henry.

Air Force Junior ROTC senior cadet Ryan Scully (left) looks on as U.S. Marine Corps veteran Terry Sips of Spencer salutes during the playing of Taps. Air Force Junior ROTC senior cadet Ryan Scully (left) looks on as U.S. Marine Corps veteran Terry Sips of Spencer salutes during the playing of Taps.

The Owen Valley High School Choir performed a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem on Tuesday morning. The Owen Valley High School Choir performed a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem on Tuesday morning.

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