Daily Egyptian

Carbondale community celebrates Veterans Day

Kenny+Turnbaugh%2C+a+senior+from+Carbondale+studying+history%2C+stands+in+line+with+his+fellow+ROTC+cadets+during+a+Veterans+Day+ceremony+Friday%2C+Nov.+11%2C+at+Veterans+Memorial+Plaza.+%28Bill+Lukitsch+%7C+%40lukitsbill%29
Kenny Turnbaugh, a senior from Carbondale studying history, stands in line with his fellow ROTC cadets during a Veterans Day ceremony Friday, Nov. 11, at Veterans Memorial Plaza. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

Kenny Turnbaugh, a senior from Carbondale studying history, stands in line with his fellow ROTC cadets during a Veterans Day ceremony Friday, Nov. 11, at Veterans Memorial Plaza. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

Kenny Turnbaugh, a senior from Carbondale studying history, stands in line with his fellow ROTC cadets during a Veterans Day ceremony Friday, Nov. 11, at Veterans Memorial Plaza. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

By Athena Chrysanthou

Sitting among the crowd of about 100 people at Veterans Memorial Plaza on Friday was Korean War veteran Orland Sims.

The park was the site of the city’s annual Veterans Day celebration, a commemoration of active and retired armed service members in the community. Organized by members of the local chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars, in partnership with SIU, the event brought community leaders, veterans, family members and friends together to pay tribute to those who have served in the military.

Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell made introductory remarks at the ceremony before a national anthem performance and keynote address by retired Lt. Col. Harvey Welch, a former dean of students at the university.

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After thanking those who served and commemorating those who lost their lives, Welch addressed the recent election results. He said even though some people think the country will change dramatically, he urged them to get involved and help define whatever changes are coming.

Vietnam veteran Keith McQuarrie waits to be joined by his wife, Sandy, after the end of a Veterans Day ceremony Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at Veterans Memorial Plaza. Keith wore the same uniform issued to him in 1969. Sandy noted that he stays in good enough shape to still wear it. “He’s held up pretty well,” she said jokingly. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

Welch reminded the audience that those in the armed forces must follow the orders of the president, no matter if they agree.

“Forget about complaining and forget about political parties,” he said. “Take action to help people.”

During one portion of the ceremony, veterans of the Korean War were asked to stand. Sims was one of a few who could.

As a young man, Sims said he was drafted as rifleman and stayed for five years. More than 60 years after his service, Sims said the day still holds a special meaning for him. And when he thinks of his time in war, he remembers his old friend, Eddie Glasmar.

“He was my bodyguard and I was his bodyguard,” Sims said.

The story of how the two met is the type that comes from being caught between a rock and a hard place. When Glasmar found himself in trouble with the law, a judge gave him two choices: prison or war. He went to war.

Active and retired military were instructed to salute the flag as SIU’s Army ROTC performed a three-volley salute at the north end of the park to signal the end of the ceremony.

After the ceremony,  Lt. Col. Craig Hansen, the commander of the ROTC, said young cadets see the day’s events as a “time for them to remember they are a part of something bigger than themselves.”

“For veterans, this day means remembering their comrades,” Hansen said.

Staff writer Athena Chrysanthou can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Chrysant1Athena.

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