An open letter to local veterans:
Imagine that a local veteran, perhaps one of your family, friends or neighbors, has passed away after a loving and productive life.
In service to our country, military members accept the risks associated with that service: possible injury or death, exposure to illness and diseases, and the potential long-term effects those hazards may bring.
Your veterans bravely left their family, friends, community and careers to serve our country, preserve our freedoms and ensure our way of life. The saying, “Some gave all, all gave some,” is as true today as it was when first spoken.
Now imagine that you are attending your veteran’s last rites, and at the gravesite, there is no “Honor Guard” to render the solemn, respectful ceremony our fallen brother-in-arms has earned.
No one to acknowledge your veteran’s service and sacrifice.
No one to publicly, proudly demonstrate for the family the respect and comradeship of all veterans, regardless of where or when they served.
Your Princeton American Legion Post is committed to ensuring that our brothers-in-arms receive the honors that are so richly deserved. They and their families deserve nothing less. We invite you to join us in this honorable service.
You may ask, “Why join a veterans service organization when my life is pretty busy already?” That is a very fair question!
Like many, it seemed that my days were full, so another commitment wasn’t an appealing idea. I joined after witnessing the Post 125 Honor Guard rendering graveside honors to a friend and fellow veteran.
The family’s heartfelt appreciation for the service convinced me that I could find a couple of hours to help out.
After a number of years as an Honor Guard member, I can tell you that the emotions we experience during a graveside ceremony are almost indescribable; sorrow, a sense of loss, empathy, respect, humility, pride in an honorable duty fulfilled.
We invite you to join our American Legion Post, whose sole focus is on supporting local veterans and our community. If you have any questions, please leave your contact information on our post phone, 815-872-1171, and we will respond ASAP.
Better yet, invest an hour or so to attend one of our meetings, 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month.
The Princeton American Legion Hall is at 1549 W. Peru St. We live in a small community, so American Legion Post 125, AMVETS Post 180 and VFW Post 4323 work closely together, known locally as the “Princeton Veterans Organization.” See our website at www.princetonveterans.org.
Note to readers: Donald Kirby is commander of American Legion Post 125.