Ceremony honors area’s veterans
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Several people gathered in front of the Niles City Hall for the 11 a.m. Veterans' Day ceremony on Tuesday.
Present during the ceremony were members of the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, all from Post 26 in Niles.
After a brief speech by Harry Roberts, an American Legion Post 26 member, Larry Clymer, a Berrien County Commissioner, made a speech that may have caught some of the guests attending the ceremony by surprise.
Clymer said he is afraid that as a nation, the United States is not prepared for the war it is currently engaged in.
Clymer told the small crowd that stood on the grass in front of the city's historic headquarters, among which there were veterans from World War II, Vietnam and Korea and Desert Storm, that the war is "no longer fought in Berlin or Tokyo."
He said the new war, which involves terrorism, may be closer than most people think.
Clymer said the terrorists have no respect for women, children and those who are not involved in war.
He pleaded that Americans wake up, especially after the Sept. 11 attacks that killed thousands of people who were trapped inside the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York.
Clymer said if the allied nations had made a pre-emptive strike against Nazi Germany in 1939, after Hitler decided to invade Poland, the loss of millions of lives may have been avoided.
After Clymer's speech, a color guard presented arms, and the Rev. Fred Smith, South Niles Community Church, held a prayer.
When the ceremony was over, the veterans and guests went to the Niles American Legion Post for corn bread and beans, which is an annual tradition.
Ben Hendershott, a Sons of American Legion Post 26 district officer, was glad to be present during the Tuesday ceremony.