Remember those who serve, sacrificeOn Sunday, we honor our veterans for their unwavering service and sacrifice. This Year of the Veteran we commemorate, acknowledge, and affirm the contributions made by our veterans to secure the liberties we continue to enjoy.
By: By John Scocos, Superior Telegram
On Sunday, we honor our veterans for their unwavering service and sacrifice. This Year of the Veteran we commemorate, acknowledge, and affirm the contributions made by our veterans to secure the liberties we continue to enjoy.
Veterans served with courage and honor. But why were they willing to fight? They served because they believe not that war is good, but that sometimes it is necessary. They served not for the glory of war, but for the prize of freedom.
Who were these men and women who fought for the prize of freedom?
I read with great appreciation just a few days ago of one such individual who, like so many, went to war not knowing if he would come back. He dared risk it all for the prize of freedom.
James Des Jardins, Green Bay, was a young fighter pilot whose plane was shot down in the German countryside in November 1944. He had been Missing in Action since. Just days ago, after all of these years, James Des Jardins was identified and his remains were returned to his family, a family that 68 years earlier had mourned and buried his older brother, also a pilot shot down during World War II. But this day, the day when James returned home, it was a day of celebration, not just for James’ homecoming, but for everything he sacrificed to defend. His family celebrated the gift James left for them: freedom.
Einar Ingman, Kewaskum, was an Army corporal who served in Korea. When the leaders of the two leading squads of the assault platoon of his company were wounded during a mission, he assumed command and combined the squads. He then located and charged an enemy machine gun that was attacking his men and threw a grenade at it. He killed the remaining crew with his rifle. He charged a second enemy machine gun. He was hit by grenade fragments and gunfire and seriously wounded. Before falling unconscious, he killed the entire enemy guncrew, compelling the remaining hostile troops to retreat. For his valor and actions beyond the call of duty, Ingman received the highest military honor, the Medal of Honor. Next week the Department will celebrate the gift of freedom Corporal Ingman gave us as we unveil a monument at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King to Wisconsin’s 62 Medal of Honor recipients.
These are just two stories of selflessness and gallantry among thousands, stories of men and women who revered freedom. They defended our right to live in peace. And they deserve to be celebrated.
So this year, let’s celebrate the nearly 400,000 veterans living in Wisconsin and those who are no longer with us. Let’s celebrate the men and women who stood up for you and me. They have made our world safer, more democratic, more peaceful. They defeated the forces of facism, imperialism, and terrorism. This is the prize of freedom.
Today, and every day, let us celebrate the Wisconsin men and women who have served our country, appreciate their sacrifices, and take a moment to honor the legacy of these heroes and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
John A. Scocos is the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. He is an Iraq War veteran.