‘An honor to stand with Rockdale’s veterans’

Dear editor,

Veterans Day in Rockdale was truly an honor to witness all the events that were so carefully planned and organized to honor our Veterans of Rockdale and the surrounding areas.

I traveled to four different campuses and watched four great performances unfold showcasing the talents and pride of hundreds of young men and women and one-day great leaders.

I started out the day enjoying the traditional breakfast at Rockdale Memorial Post 6525. I had some of Rod Roderick’s famous SOS (Super Outstanding Stuff), some orange juice and visited with the Veterans.

Joyce Hurt and the VFW Ladies Auxiliar y were in the kitchen making sure Commander Richard Henderson, Larry Mott, Kelly Meyer and Rod didn’t mess anything up.

After that I visited the elementary, high school, junior high and intermediate.

As I do every year I make these rounds and every year without fail I witness two of the most amazing things a person can witness in life.

First, the dedication, pride and hard work put into the Veterans Day programs by these outstanding young Americans and their great teachers.

You can see it as they perform; you can hear it as they speak. You hear the sincerity of both the winners in the Voice of Democracy and Patriot Pin recipients.

The pride they have in the United States and the anticipation to finally be able to get out there and take their place to help build and defend this nation.

The second amazing thing I witnessed were the Veterans themselves. Many walked slowly into the auditorium of the High School. Some were bent over using a cane with the years of life weighing on their shoulders.

Some needed assistance even getting to their seats. Ralph Roe came in using a wheel chair but all were there honoring the country they once fought for and I promise you, to the man or woman, would die defending her today if called upon.

When Lt. Col. Art Free called the veterans to attention you should have seen them all snap to attention.

Every veteran standing straight and tall and as always, it brings a tear to my eye with pride. Mr. Roe was out of that chair, no matter how bad the pain, he was going to be on his feet for the posting of the colors and the National Anthem.

They all snapped their salute up on command and their arms were locked into position so tight you could have hung a 100- pound weight off of them and they wouldn’t have moved.

Their jaws tightened with pride and they were again full of life.

This is the spirit that has kept this nation free. This is the drive and desire that no other nation can ever defeat on the battlefield. These are the men and woman that have built this Nation to be the greatest Nation in the history of the world.

I am humbled, to be in their presence, I am honored to stand among them.

Derik Strelsky

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2010-11-25 digital edition

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