Veterans near and far honored

TRACY AMERICAN LEGION members salute the flag during opening ceremonies of last week’s United We Stand Veterans’ Day program at The Caboose. The event was live-streamed to Tracy Area High School students, since the traditional program could not take place at the high school because of COVID-19.

2020 program not the same as usual but just as meaningful as always

By Per Peterson

The venue was different, but the purpose remained the same.

Four local veterans were honored during the United We Stand Veterans’ Day Program at The Caboose on Veterans’ Day morning last Wednesday.

Because of COVID-19, the traditional program in front of the Tracy Area High School student body and staff in the high school gymnasium wasn’t able to be held. The program was live-streamed to high school students, however, so everyone who normally would be present at the event could be a part of it.

The welcome was given by Tracy Mayor Tony Peterson, who used the opportunity to put military service in the United States in some context with numbers.

“The military men and women who have served the U.S. come from all walks of life,” Peterson said. “Here are some facts about the veteran population in the United States: There’s 18.2 million living veterans who served during at least one war, as of 2018. Of those, 9% of those veterans are women. Seven million veterans served during Vietnam, 3 million have served in support of the war on terrorism; of 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 345,000 are still alive as of 2020; 2 million veterans served during the Korean War. Since 1972, it’s been an all-volunteer force … I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Legionnaire Dennis Strassburg of Magnolia followed Peterson with the Veterans’ Day presentation. Strassburg said Veterans’ Day is a day to honor and thank those who have sacrificed for their country with their service. He said the war on terrorism is a long-term struggle.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.