Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In honor of our veterans November 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

“A CELEBRATION TO HONOR America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

That, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is the purpose of Veterans Day.

Veterans participate in the program.

Veterans participated in a special program dedicating a private veterans’ memorial in rural Rice County. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Today, pause to remember and/or thank a veteran for upholding those values. Perhaps it is your spouse who is deserving of your gratitude or your neighbor or co-worker, brother or sister…

My father, Elvern Kletscher, on the left with two of his soldier buddies in Korea.

My father, Elvern Kletscher, on the left with two of his soldier buddies in Korea.

We all know veterans. My father fought as a front-line infantryman in the Korean War. My brother-in-law, Neil, just returned from deployment to Afghanistan. Many more family members have served, too.

It is easy to take our freedom for granted when living in the United States of America. Freedom. To speak, write, come and go…

Last week I read the obituary of U.S. Army veteran and Faribault resident Paul Gray, 84, who served in Korea. I was surprised to read that Gray had been held as a Prisoner of War for 33 months. I’d never before considered the capture of Americans during that conflict. Gray’s POW experience, the obit stated, “was a tremendous influence in providing the inner strength he carried with him throughout his life.”

I can only image the strength it would take to endure nearly three years in captivity.

My dad carried home a July 31, 1953, memorial service bulletin from Sucham-dong, Korea. In the right column is listed the name of his fallen buddy, Raymond W. Scheibe.

My dad carried home a July 31, 1953, memorial service bulletin from Sucham-dong, Korea. In the right column is listed the name of his fallen buddy, Raymond W. Scheibe, and others who died in service to their country. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Then I wondered how many other Americans were taken prisoner. According to the National Park Service website, more than 7,100 Americans were captured and held during the Korean War. Of those, more than 2,700 were known to have died.

An article on the subject states in part:

Life as a POW meant many forced marches in subfreezing weather, solitary confinement, brutal punishments and attempts at political “re-education.” Here prisoners received their first systematic dose of indoctrination techniques by their captors. This was a relatively new phenomena and resulted in the Code of Conduct that now guides all American servicemen in regards to their capture.

An additional 8,000 plus American soldiers were reported as missing in action in Korea. That’s 8,000 too many.

More tributes on the exterior of the Happy Hour Bar.

Tributes to veterans are posted throughout Montgomery, Minnesota, including these on the exterior of the Happy Hour Bar. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Thank a veteran today and remember their families, who also have sacrificed for freedom.

FYI: Click here to read about Montgomery, Minnesota’s way of honoring veterans.

Click here to read how Minnesota teen Heather Weller honors veterans.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Advertisements
 

6 Responses to “In honor of our veterans”

  1. hotlyspiced Says:

    Great post, Audrey. It’s so true that so many sacrificed so much for our future; a future they too often were denied. My grandfather was a POW for over four years and I know the affect that had on him for the rest of his life – those were dark days and it sounds like things were certainly no better for the POWs of the Korean war xx

  2. Mike Spry Says:

    Audrey:

    The last man on your list, Vernie Zurn, was from my hometown of Callaway, MN and a distant cousin. I believe he is still officially listed as MIA. Its good to know Vernie was remembered by his fellow soldiers.

    Thanks for the post – Mike

    • Wow, Mike, I never expected a comment like yours, that one of the men on the list was related. If you’d like, I can snail mail a copy of the memorial bulletin for Vernie’s family. Also, it’s possible there could be a photo of Vernie in the shoebox of pix my Dad had from Korea.

      Please email me, Mike.

  3. Daisy Stanley Says:

    Vernie was my 1st cousin. Ambrose and Lucy his parents were my aunt and uncle. Glad to know his memory is still alive!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s