By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — A program on November 11 at Elk Mound High School honored area veterans for their service.
The veterans who attended the Elk Mound High School Veterans Day program were Joyce Hanson, the wife of Robert Hanson, deceased, who served in the United States Army in Korea; Helen Blicher, the mother of Aaron Blicher; Aaron served in the United States Army in Iraq; Bob Moats, who served in the United States Navy in Korea; and Victor Jenson, who served in the United States Army in Korea.
Staff Sergeant John Scully, United States Army, was the featured speaker.
He began his presentation with thanking the veterans who were the guests of honor at the program for their service and asking the audience for another round of applause for them.
Prior to SSG Scully’s speech, the veterans had been introduced by the high school student council members sponsoring the program and had been applauded for their service.
SSG Scully was born and raised in Iowa and played college football. He joined the army when he was 21 and went into the infantry.
He has served in Iraq twice.
“I’ve had good experiences in the army. Not all of them have been good, but for the most part. I would not choose a different job if I could do it all over again. I love the challenges and adventures,” SSG Scully said.
“The army taught me how to be a better person. When I went into the army, I wasn’t mature. I wasn’t ready for responsibility,” he said.
“After nine weeks of basic training, I realized who I needed to be. I learned to be more respectful to myself and to others. (I learned) responsibility and self-confidence,” SSG Scully said.
The army, SSG Scully said, gave him opportunities to travel: Hawaii, Alaska, South Korea, Iraq, Germany and California — along with the opportunity to meet many new people.
“Where I’m from in Iowa and here in Wisconsin — it’s very different. You get out in the world and you realize there are a lot of different people out there,” SSG Scully said, noting that he chose the infantry because he wanted to actually fight for his country.
Veterans Day is a way for people “to let veterans know that you remember we are here, and that we are here serving you and our country. A thank you goes a long way, and it means a lot,” he said.
World War I ended on November 11, 1918, which was known as Armistice Day.
The United States Congress passed a resolution June 4, 1926, issued a proclamation that asked all government officials to display the flag on government buildings on November 11 and invited people to observe the day in schools, churches, or other suitable places for ceremonies.
November 11 was declared a legal holiday on May 13, 1938.
After World War II and Korea, on June 4, 1952, the 83rd Congress removed the word “armistice” and inserted “veterans” to honor the veterans of all wars on Veterans Day.
The Uniform Holiday Bill signed on June 28, 1968, ensured that four federal holidays would be celebrated on Mondays to give three-day weekends to federal employees: Washington’s birthday; Memorial Day; Veterans Day and Columbus Day.
The first Veterans Day after the Uniform Holiday Bill was celebrated on October 25, 1971.
Because of the patriotic significance of Veterans Day on November 11, President Gerald R. Ford on September 20, 1975, signed a law changing Veterans Day back to November 11 beginning in 1978. Members of state legislatures, veterans service organizations and the American people had expressed their desire to observe Veterans Day on November 11.