Slideshow | Memorial Day 2012 at Enumclaw Veterans Memorial Park | George Rossman
By GEORGE ROSSMAN
Enumclaw Courier Herald Contributor
June 12, 2012 · 12:33 PM
May 27,2012 at Veterans Memorial Park, I was proud to attend, and be a part of Memorial Day Observance to honor those men and women who gave their lives while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. As we all paused in order to pay respect to those among us who have served, or are still serving, in the Armed Forces.
Many, if not most of us, reading this have lost a friend or a loved one during the course of our lives in the wars the United States and Allied Countries have fought.
Many more of us know someone who has been severely injured or wounded during the same wars or conflicts. Therefore, let us all find our own way, to pay respects to those who served, to keep our country free, in the observance of Memorial Day. Lest We Forget.
My thanks to the Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post 1949 for the wonderful program of speakers, music and observance that was presented. It was thrilling to see participation from all those present.
The guest speaker for the occasion” Colonel (Ret.) Larry Kauffman, Air National Guard”, brought to those present a message that we all need to read several times and respect for the values observed.
God Bless our community for having individuals with the character, spirit and devotion that Col. Kauffman brings to our lives as residents of this community.
The text of Col. Kauffman speech follows.
“The Fabric of This Community”
It has been just over a year since I retired from the Air National Guard and today is the first time I have worn this uniform since my retirement. I had two concerns about wearing it. First, friends who had retired ahead of me warned me that as my uniform hung idly in my closet it would diminish in dimension causing some angst when I tried to fit back into it.
My second concern, and this is in all seriousness now, is the weight that comes from wearing a uniform of the U.S. military. Not a weight of burden, but a weight of responsibility. You see, each of us who has ever worn the uniform has at least once raised our right hand and sworn to God that we would support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. And that we’d bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
Woven into this material are the threads of the Constitution. Not the parchment of paper but the way of life and our freedoms that it has established and continues to enable. There is much more to this fabric than what reaches the eye.
And this too is the case with the fabric of our Plateau community. The character of our community is readily visible right here before us. This beautiful park, this incredible monument, VFW comrades, Boy Scouts, these singers and musicians; and each of you who have taken time from the middle of a three day holiday weekend to pay honor and respect to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in fulfilling their obligation in defending our Constitution-our way of life.
But there is much more to this fabric of our community than what reaches the eye. It is what lies behind this evidence that truly matters. It is the people of this community who give of their time, skills, talents, resources and money to make all these things a reality. These are the threads that weave into this community; that makes its fabric strong and valuable. The strength of a values based community like this cannot be overstated; the positive influence it has on the members of our military cannot be overvalued.
Let me share a story to help make my point and I will close. I flew my final combat sortie a year and a half ago. I was a crew member on a C-17 that was configured as a “flying hospital” and we were flying an Aeromedical Evacuation mission taking Wounded Warriors from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base in Germany where they would be transported to nearby landstuhl Army Medical Center. There they could begin the process of healing their bodies and their spirits. It is a remarkable success story of the high survival rate we have tending to our wounded though it is a tough story.
One of our Wounded Warriors on this flight had only hours earlier been walking on a patrol, but was now lying on a stretcher-his left leg missing from above the knee. He was going to survive his wounds but obviously had a long road to recovery before him, starting with an 8 hour flight to Germany.
His battle fatigues had been cut away 50 the field medics and doctors and nurses at the base hospital could tend to his wounds. To give him some shelter from the elements of the f1ightline and the aircraft environment a quilt covered his body.
I am certain that the blessed hands that made and donated that quilt, with the threads of love, concern and prayers woven throughout its fabric, had no idea when, where or how their gift would be used. And I am just as sure that that young man was not totally aware that this marvelous gift was providing him some comfort in his time of need.
Nonetheless, comfort was given, and comfort was received.
I suspect I can speak for a good number of veterans in this crowd when I say as frightening as some moments in combat were it was the lonely times that were the worse. But alii had to do was think of my family, friends and community back home and their love, concern, prayers and support reached across the oceans and continents to provide comfort in my time of need.
And as is clearly demonstrated right here and now, I knew if I were ever to be imprisoned, missing or killed in action, I would not be forgotten.
It is this fabric of our community and thousands more like it across our land that helps make our military strong, and in so doing our nation great.
For this I thank each of you.
God bless you all.
Contact Enumclaw Courier Herald Contributor George Rossman at firstname.lastname@example.org.