GREENSBURG – Aspen Place held a rousing service Monday honoring veterans living at the facility that included speeches by District American Legion Auxiliary Commander Wanda Imel and local attorney Bill Smith.
Aspen Place Community Relations Associate Jennie Schnebelt spoke, saying, “This day, which began as Armistice Day, evolved into Veterans Day after World War I, a day to honor those who have served, who now serve, and who’ve died in their service to our country.”
She also quoted Thomas Payne, saying, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must also undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
She continued by saying, “Many of you here have experienced the fatigue of waging war to bring about peace, and to you we say. ‘Thank you.’ “Let’s use the opportunity on Veterans Day for years to come to celebrate service to our nation, to demonstrate the appreciation we have for our military. Let’s inspire generations to dedicate themselves in the name of the many who fought the wars before.”
Smith spoke at length, telling the the story of veteran Ernie Norquist, who fought in World War I.
Assigned as a medic after only two weeks of basic training, Norquist was sent to Europe just before the Japanese took over his base, making him a prisoner of war.
“The Japanese really didn’t comply with the Geneva Convention, and depending on whether you got a cruel commander or a kind one determined your treatment while in the camps,” Smith explained.
He continued, explaining Norquist’s many trials and tribulations until he was released.
“He was treated so cruelly that the only way Norquist could survive was thinking about the life he planned to lead after the war,” Smith said. “This man, and so many like him, we honor them today for all they did for our country.”
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and then the assemblage was treated to the “Star Spangle Banner” sung by talented vocalist Haley Trenkamp.
The event, celebrated by many residents of Aspen Place and their families, centered around two new “Honor Walls” that have been installed. Public Relations Coordinator Courtney Crowe explained.
“We wanted to honor our veterans for their service and their sacrifices for our country, so we decided to represent them each individually by placing their pictures on our wall so that others may pay them tribute as well,” Crowe said.