Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT American Legion Post 26 Commander Ken Wolf salutes as veterans, from left, David Lolmaugh, Ron Groshans, John Sly, Herb Ochenryder and Bob Ahrens prepare to fire shots into the air during Friday’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the veterans’ monument in Niles.

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‘Let’s not take our freedom for granted’

Published 6:02pm Friday, November 11, 2011

More than 50 people gathered Friday morning at the veterans’ monument in downtown Niles to witness American Legion Post 26’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony.
Pastor Jeff Whittaker, of Michiana Christian Embassy, led the opening prayer, asking those in attendance and elsewhere to remember the freedoms they enjoy. Even one as simple as being able to choose whether to turn left or right at the top of the hill on Main Street.
“This is a memorial day of veterans,” Whittaker said. “To thank those that still live, to thank those that still carry those same character traits that they carried to the field in so many fields of conflict.
“You came back alive so you could continue to live and set a good example for so many of us that need to learn. May we never forget the lessons of war in the time of peace.”
Whittaker also quoted former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said “Americans, indeed, all free men, remember that the final choice, a soldier’s pack is not so heavy a burden as prisoner’s chains.”
“Those are great words,” Whittaker said. “It is about the ones that are home that cause the ones on the field to press through and to get the answer.”
Five veterans, dressed in full military uniform, fired three shots each into the air before veteran David Lolmaugh played Taps on a trumpet.
Dorothy McLaughlin, Post 26 auxiliary chaplain, gave the closing prayer, saying they will never see this date, 11-11-11, again.
“On this Veterans Day, we are reminded of all those that sacrificed for our freedom,” McLaughlin said. “Let us not take our freedom for granted. May we always remember our freedom which was purchased with a very high price.”

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