Veterans Day Program Held At Veterans Park In Shawnee
November 19, 2020
On 11-11 at 11 am, the bell at Woodland Veterans Park in Shawnee was rung by Bob Winchell to begin the Veterans Day Program. About 50 people gathered at the park to listen to veterans from three organizations speak about what it means to serve.
Tony Litherland gave the welcome speech. He said veterans are "prepared to give everything," and they continue to serve all their lives. He asked that everyone remember to tell veterans, "Thank you for your service." Then, he shook hands with a boy in the audience, saying that the boy may remember and grow up to serve in the military.
Jeff Branum, from the Disabled American Veterans, spoke about those who are deployed, saying that knowing someone is at home waiting on them keeps them going. He asked that the audience encourage widowed spouses of veterans to seek out help from the DAV, since some do not know about the benefits available.
James Dockemeyer, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, reminded everyone to "check on veterans in this time of isolation." He said all veterans "possess a love of home, country, and family," and he read the "Veteran's Creed."
Scot Wengland, of the American Legion, began his speech by saluting the flag and asking those in the audience to raise their hands if they have family members in the military, have family members who have been wounded in service, or have lost someone in the service. He raised his hand for the last question. Then, he spoke about the small table set up by the memorial, which represented those missing in action.
"This table means so much to me," he said.
He explained what each part of the table represented, set for one symbolic family member. It included the candle for the light of hope, the white table cloth for purity, a black ribbon those who would never come home, a rose for the hope of their return, a lemon for bitter fate, and a Bible for the strength they find in faith.
Wengland said it was also important to him that the remains of Pearl Harbor veteran, James C. Webb, were identified and brought home in September.
"They depend on us to bring them home," he said. "Our comrades have been there for us, and we need to be there for them."
Following the speeches, Al Brase, presented a plaque to Renee Wortham, daughter of the late Ron Henderson of Shawnee. Brase said Henderson was a dedicated volunteer and supporter of the local veterans organizations, since at least 2005 when the veterans memorial at the park was built. He said since Henderson passed away in March, his family is continuing the tradition.