For Miami Valley Today
TROY — Those looking to salute America’s veterans and the men and women serving today can “honor our country” instead of trying to tear it down, 8th District U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson (R-Troy) said during Upper Valley Medical Center’s Veterans Day program.
Area veterans and families along with UVMC employees filled UVMC conference rooms for the Tuesday, Nov. 11 noontime event. The keynote speaker was Vietnam veteran Gaylen Blosser, a Darke County resident and member of that county’s Veterans Service Commission.
Davidson, a graduate of U.S. Military Academy at West Point, reminded those gathered that veterans have not always been treated with the love and respect seen today. Americans should remember those who have served from the country’s founding, he said, adding those who enter the military change forever. “It is a transformative thing,” he said.
The congressman said he is often asked how people can support veterans beyond thanking them for their service.
“Just honor our country. Think about the division that our country is in today. We are at a time of overwhelming peace and prosperity, but the angst that you see going in the country, the idea that you can’t respect the National Anthem … Please just stop tearing down our country,” Davidson said. “I think that would be one of the best and most fitting ways as we move toward Thanksgiving; if we took a little more time to count our blessings.”
Blosser, who came from a Mennonite family in West Liberty, talked about joining the Army at age 19, knowing nothing about the military. He was sent to Vietnam with the infantry where he early on learned the reality of war with the loss of many fellow soldiers in Operation Lamar Plain.
He shared photographs of himself and others in the division as they went about their duties in 1969 Vietnam using maps to identify their location in the time before Global Positioning Systems. His role was carrying the radio, a job he later learned was among the most dangerous.
“In the middle of Vietnam, we still had our American flag,” Blosser said of one photo showing his camp.
He urged people to join him in saluting those who serve in the U.S. military, calling it “the finest military in the world.” Blosser also suggested people visit the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus.
The Veterans Day program and flags that lined the UVMC driveways were intended to express appreciation to veterans and military men and women for their bravery, their sacrifices and their dedication in protecting this nation and preserving the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans, said Tom Parker, UVMC president.