Veterans urged to share their stories with young
Posted: November 13, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — More than 100 area veterans, their family members and other local residents packed Omps Funeral Home’s South Chapel Monday morning to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by those who have served in the country’s military.
The gathering was part of an annual service, sponsored by several local veterans organizations, at the funeral home on Front Royal Pike.
Dan Cunningham, a Winchester resident who served in the Army for 23 years, said afterward that he attends every year to commemorate the sacrifices made by the veterans who served before him in Vietnam, Korea and World War II.
Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville, told those in attendance that the courage showed by veterans humbles her.
“[Event co-chairman Don Ratcliff] could have certainly found many more eloquent people to stand before you and be your speaker today, but I can tell you he could not have found a person who is more humbled and more honored by the opportunity to spend this morning with you,” Vogel said. “As I look out into this group, truly it humbles me. There is no group that I’ve ever come before that gives me the feeling I have today.”
During her remarks, Vogel touted the fact that the state legislature passed more than 40 pieces of legislation in its most recent session to help the approximately 825,000 military veterans living in the commonwealth. She said homelessness, substance abuse and unemployment are some of the issues that severely impact veterans and that the Virginia government has been working to help the veteran community with.
“Our veterans desperately, desperately need our time and our attention and our resources at their greatest time of need and that is when they return home,” Vogel said. “Every veteran has a story and they are humble and they are hard to tease out sometimes, but they are amazing stories. From the Greatest Generation to the ones who come home today, their lives are a wealth of wisdom and a litany of tragedy and hope and accomplishment.”
Both Vogel and Frederick County Supervisor Gene Fisher, who spoke briefly during the service, urged the veterans in attendance to share their stories with younger generations.
“I beg you, share your stories with young people today so that they have some concept and some sense of what service really is,” Vogel said.
Fisher recalled a recent trip to Montana where he had dinner with World War II and Vietnam veterans and a woman whose brother was killed by an explosive device in Afghanistan about two years ago.
“I can still see the tears and feel the heartfelt anguish that she had when she shared that story with us,” Fisher said, adding that he believes in the importance of veterans sharing their stores and the public recognizing the sacrifices that they and their families have made and continue to make.
“It is good [that] we have gathered here today to remember, to honor and to share.”
Stan Ausberry, a Winchester native who served in the Virginia Defense Force, comes to veterans services whenever he is able.
“Vietnam is something that’s near and dear to me,” Ausberry said after the service.
While he did not fight in Vietnam, he has friends who served overseas and his father was in the Navy during World War II.
“A lot of us have given so much,” Ausberry said.
— Contact Matt Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org