By Tara Brandl
“I’m proud to be a veteran.”
That was the message Tom Moore wanted to convey to the Milroy students, community members and veterans at the Veterans’ Day program Monday. Moore is an Iraqi war veteran with 31 years of military service and is currently the Lucan Legion Commander.
Moore was detached to a unit from Lafayette, IN, and deployed to Iraq in 2003. He followed the initial wave of combat operations into Iraq and spent about a year there. However, his time in Iraq was not what he wanted to focus on during his comments Monday.
“I want to talk about our return home,” Moore said. “When we were bused to West Lafayette, we were met by a trooper and fire department escort into town. The main road from the interstate to the reserve center was about four miles long and about two miles were lined with people cheering, holding signs and waving flags. It was an awesome sight!”
The memories of that day were still close to Moore as he looked up at his wife during his speech Monday, and the emotions those memories brought back were displayed to everyone in attendance as well as his appreciation of the gesture.
“I was met at the airport (in Minnesota) by my family with hugs, kisses and welcome home signs,” Moore said. We went to my daughter’s home in St. Peter for a while and then headed home to Lucan to see my in-laws. We were met outside of Lucan on Highway 68 by the Lucan Fire Department which escorted us into Lucan. We got into Lucan and the main street was lined with locals on both sides again with signs and waving flags. I got out and was embraced by the community. I was very proud to be a soldier and a part of something so wonderful.”
Moore spent time prior to retirement from the military as an instructor at Ft. McCoy, WI, training troops being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. During his time there, he spent many mornings in the hotel he was staying at in uniform. Almost every day during that time, someone would thank him for his service. At first he would say “thank you” in return. However, after more thought, he didn’t think thanking someone for thanking him seemed the correct response.
See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.