It’s About Those Before, During And Standing Watch Now

Ray "Ed" Bridges gets a little help from his brother Fred Bridges with his poppy. Veterans gathered on Sunday morning to observe Veterans Day 2018.

Ray “Ed” Bridges gets a little help from his brother Fred Bridges with his poppy. Veterans gathered on Sunday morning to observe Veterans Day 2018.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Veterans Day 2018 is unique as it marks the end of “The war to end all wars,” which is often attributed to President Woodrow Wilson, in regards to WWI, and the armistice that was signed in 1918, bringing an end to that war 100 years ago.

Unfortunately, there has been war and conflict since WWI, and American’s finest have answered that call to serve their country, with many making the ultimate sacrifice.

On Sunday, November 11th, veterans from across Oskaloosa and Mahaska County gathered at the Clarence C. Cook VFW Post #2237 to honor their brothers and sisters in arms.

Fred Bridges lead the gathering of his fellow veterans, introducing Clay Grandia, a retired Navy Seal who served his country for 22 years, retiring in 2012.

Grandia spoke about the importance and the influence the veterans clubs have had on his life.

Grandia’s father was a Korean War veteran, and he spent many hours with him inside places like the VFW and the American Legion.

“I came to appreciate those guys [veterans] so much then, but then so much more later on in life after becoming a veteran myself,” said Grandia of his opportunity to join those groups himself after serving during a time of war.

“Hanging out in there, I always looked forward to going in and listening to the veterans talk and watching their interaction with each other. There wasn’t so much talking about glory or the battlefield experiences or some-such, but it was the way that they related to each other. They way they act and their comedienne and that commonality, they came together from their service together and the places they had been, things they had done. There was a lot of unspoken bond that they had,” said Grandia over observing veterans from an early age.

“When you go back and you think about the history of this country and where we exist today, the greatest country on earth. It wouldn’t exist without veterans,” said Grandia. “From the Revolutionary War where we decided we wanted a free country, free from oppression; from an oppressive government. When those men stepped forward and said hey, you know what, I’m going to sacrifice everything for future generations and establish the best nation there is on Earth. To the current War on Terror and everything in-between, there would be no USA. Veterans and their sacrifices have ensured this nation enjoys the freedom to succeed.”

“As Veterans Day passes and we enjoy each others company in here, remember there are veteran men and women today, service men and women that are standing guard all over the world. Whether it’s riding the waves, or stealthily making way under them, standing post on some foreign soil, or flying above it, they’re out there protecting our freedoms, so you can be here today,” added Grandia. “Generations of brother and sisterhood have stepped forward with that willingness to sacrifice.

Precisely at 11 am, the honor guard raised their rifles to the air, firing three volleys marking the 100th year since the end of World War I.

Gathered veterans, their families and friends then sat down to a meal prepared by the VFW Auxiliary.

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