Veterans Day speaker thanks soldiers and those behind them

Nov 12, 2017

History is made with soldiers, said the keynote speaker at Marion's Veterans Day ceremony; and the real benefits of being in the military are ones the average citizen might not expect.

On a cold November 11, which forced the annual ceremony indoors, retired Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Napoli fondly introduced keynote speaker, Lieutenant Heather Hutchison, as a "military brat." ("I can say that, I have four of them.")

Hutchison expressed surprise and appreciation that she was even selected to speak. "Thanks, y'all!" she said. She noted that she wanted non-veterans in the room to understand the true benefits of being in the military, "because they're not the ones that you read about."

"When you're in the military, you spend holidays and birthdays in places you would never expect," she added. "Sometimes they're places whose names you can't even pronounce."

But she said, the memories are the real benefit of the military. The stories soldiers come away with, the real history behind the wars, is the biggest prize. "My grandfather served in the Royal Air Force in England during World War II," she said. "He saw horrible things every day. But when he told me stories about his time in the service, they were always funny. He would laugh so hard he would cry." One story in particular, of a frustrated superior shoving soap into a sock and smacking a grunt with it, came to mind.

"I wish I had more time to sit and listen to those stories," she said. "They're all gone now."

Hutchison also honored the family members of veterans. "I know people always honor the veterans themselves, but friends and family should be honored too," she said. "You are the reason why we come home, and why we fight. We do it for you."