On a frosty Monday, Nov. 11, veterans and their families gathered at the American Legion in Pine City to sit down to the annual supper provided free to all who served.
Howard Ledin was recognized as the single World War II veteran in attendance, and Pine City High School choir students sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The Legion chaplain said a prayer to ask God to bless and preserve our nation and all those who serve and protect it.
American Legion Post 51 Commander Larry Sutterland welcomed the visitors
“The American Legion knows that service doesn’t stop when the uniform comes off,” Sutterland said. “So to you, and those who have come before you, and those that have followed – thank you.”
Pine City Mayor Carl Pederson spoke about the sacrifices made by America’s veterans.
“Much ado about the meaning of this day is made each year at this time, and for very good reason,” Pederson said. “Politicians and famous people trot out all the old speeches, repeating the same inspirational quotes.
“The politics behind America’s military actions are debatable, and the reasons why a person joins the military are many, but the common thread is the the sheer guts it takes to hand that blank check over to your government for the amount of, up to and including the most valuable thing that a person has – their very life.”
Pederson noted that the number of Americans volunteering for the military increases dramatically during wartime.
“When the risk is the greatest, you’ll find your countrymen standing in line to sign those papers and take their oaths. Think about that. When the odds of getting killed or permanently crippled are the highest, your fellow citizens are more likely to join the military regardless of the risk.”
He spoke in detail about the sacrifices made by those who never returned from their tours of duty.
“To all my veteran brothers and sisters here today, thank you for your service and sacrifices,” he said. “May God keep a watchful eye over all our active duty veterans.”
Auxiliary President Linda Sutterlund noted that the American Legion Auxiliary celebrated its 100th anniversary on Nov. 10, and offered her own words of appreciation.
“Thank you for serving this great country,” Sutterlund said. “Thank you for protecting us. Thank you for the security we have here at home. We know you sacrificed much for your country and for all of us. And though many of you no longer wear the uniform, we know you always feel on call to serve and protect the freedom and security of the United States of America.”