ARMSTRONG - Monday morning was brisk, but there was a heartwarming Veterans Day observance by North Union High School students at the gym in Armstrong.
"I can't think of anything more appropriate than for the North Union Warriors to honor the warriors seated here," Dave Grussing, City of Armstrong council member and retired Army officer, told several hundred present.
Grussing pointed out that less than one percent of Americans currently serve in the military with 20 percent of the members of Congress having served. However, that was different in the 1950s and 1960s when 95 percent of Congress had served.
The North Union choir performed at Veterans Day ceremonies Monday morning in Armstrong.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann
"From Eisenhower to Elvis, virtually every segment of our society was dominated by veterans," said Grussing, noting the key points of The Soldiers Creed and the Warrior Ethos.
"Regardless of the branch of service, they always placed their mission first, Grussing said of soldiers from every branch.
Grussing recalled extreme acts of heroism, from Korea to Afghanistan where a personal friend had been killed.
"It's a commitment. A commitment to something bigger than ourselves," Grussing said.
Grussing recalled too the sacrifice of John Thorson, 1938 graduate of Armstrong High School. An outstanding athlete and farm raised, Thorson served throughout the Pacific until he threw his body on a grenade on Leyte Island in the Philippines. Thorson posthumously received the Medal of Honor May 31, 1945.
"What makes a soldier like John Thorson sacrifice himself," Grussing asked. "It's commitment."
Grussing said Veterans Day is a fitting day to thank veterans for their sacrifices. But we should also thank them throughout the year, he said.
"They served 365 days a year for us. We should be appreciative more than one day a year," Grussing said.
Jon Larsen, Vietnam veteran, City of Armstrong council member and longtime Armstrong-Ringsted teacher, asked everyone to imagine the veterans seated before them in their youth. He recalled his own enlistment shortly after graduating from high school. "And all of a sudden I was in a uniform," Larsen said.
Those gathered heard selections from the North Union High School band and chorus and hymns from the five service branches.