4 State Hero
"We Salute Our Veterans"
Sunday - June 24, 2007 - 11am
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Why I Love America Essay Contest
Thank you to all those who helped in any
way to see that this special ceremony was a success. We could not
have done it without your support!
The American Legion Riders
Bob Torbett (Director American Legion Riders/Patriot Guard)
Major General Joe Scepansky
Fred Bogatay (Command Sergeant Major, (Ret), USAR)
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Arrival of American Legion
Major General Joe Scepansky
Fred Bogatay (Command
Sergeant Major, (Ret), USAR)
WW II POW
WW II POW
Introduction of guests by
Legion Riders/Patriot Guard)
Captain Craig White
Music performed by
American Legion Riders
Welcome: Craig Stokes,
President of Franklin Community Council, Inc. I want to
welcome all of you for coming to share this week-end with us.
We are here today to honor ALL
veterans. We all have ties to the
community in which we were raised and today is a special day for Franklin. We are grateful to have so many
have returned for this event. But we
would also like to recognize ALL
attendance today and remember those who were unable to be
We appreciate their service.
I’m honored to introduce Major
General Joe Scepansky a
former Franklin resident.
us today from Texas. Joe
will lead us in the
Pledge of Allegiance and give the
of Allegiance: Led by Major General Joe Scepansky
Invocation: Major General Joe
Introductory Remarks: Bob
Introduction of Guests:
- Special guests:
Former POWs Tony Zemlock and Clark Fikes
- US Army Reserve Unit,
1011th Quartermaster Company, Detachment 1
- Bob Torbett, Director,
American Legion Riders/Patriot Guard
- Special Musical
Selections: Angela Newberry
morning and thank you for
coming here today. My name is Fred Bogatay and I grew up in Franklin.
My Mom and Dad are Helen and Emil Bogatay. I feel honored to be able to
address you this morning to pay homage to Franklin’s Veterans.
Speaker: Fred W. Bogatay, Command Sergeant Major, (Ret), USAR
“I do solemnly swear or affirm that
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against
all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and
allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the
President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed
over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military
Justice. So help me God.”
Those who have had the honor to
speak these words and to take this oath belong to a special, patriotic
fellowship. It is an oath of service that bonds veterans of past wars
with those who will serve in conflicts to come. Their love of America
is second to none and their valor is unquestioned. They have served and
will continue to serve this great nation in times of peace and war as
they have done for so many years.
In today’s world we hear the word
“HERO” applied to many people for many reasons. Many children look up
to some of our country’s greatest athletes, for example, as heroes and
role models. Heroes aren’t athletes who set new sports records. Nor are
they people in Hollywood who make “daring” films, or politicians who
make bold promises. Heroes are people who place themselves at risk for
the benefit of others.
America enjoys freedom today because
true heroes like the men and women of the United States Armed Forces,
our courageous soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Guardsmen – our
Franklin Veterans and our Crawford County Veterans - sacrificed their
tomorrows for us.
Today, we honor our veterans -- the
men and women who have taken this oath of service to protect and defend
this great country from those that wish to do it harm. We honor our
Franklin Veterans because they deserve our thanks and much more. It is
by their strength, dedication, and love for America by all veterans
that our national security remains intact. It is because they so
willingly laid their lives on the line to protect America’s freedoms
that we can have celebrations like this one to honor Franklin, its 100
year history, and its people. The legacy of Franklin's veterans is
something we all share, and we can all take pride in their dedication
and selfless service.
If you look at the veterans that
have their pictures on the website and in the Community Center, you
will see many of them held positions of leadership from the
Non-Commissioned Officer Corps up to and including General Officers.
You will see at least 2 that were prisoners of war during WWII. You
will see Infantry soldiers, engineer soldiers, signal corps soldiers,
medical corps soldiers, sailors of various skills, Air Force corpsmen
with various skills, Coast Guard sailors with various jobs and WACs—the
“Women’s Army Corps” of the Army, and the WAVES-- "Women Accepted for
Volunteer Emergency Service" in the Navy, and you will see at least one
soldier that didn’t make it home.
Thomas Paine understood the
sacrifices our veterans make when he wrote,
“These are the times that try men’s
souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this
crisis, shrink from the service of his country. But he that stands now
deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
I suppose those words are as true
today as they were when Mr. Paine spoke them. World War One was not far
into the future when many of the people that settled Franklin arrived
in the 1st decade of the 1900s. My grandparents arrived here in 1903.
The records here show that there weren’t many volunteers for that war
from Franklin. However, the Second World War saw many men and women
volunteers from this little town and all of Crawford County.
The children of these first
immigrants joined the various branches of the military service to
protect their country and what had become so dear to them and their
parents---freedom and a chance to make a better life.
When the Korean Conflict erupted,
Franklin and Crawford County again sent its fair share of men and women
to fight ‘for what was right’. The same goes for the Viet Nam war that
began in the 50s and ended in the early 70s. Franklin and Crawford
County veterans were there and did their share of fighting and helping
and caring. And they made it home when their tour was done. There were
two Franklin boys --- childhood friends and neighbors --- that met each
other when they were doing their tours of duty in the jungles of Viet
Nam. They sent a picture home of that small but joyous reunion, and
that picture made the local newspapers, if I remember correctly.
After Viet Nam, America fought in
Desert Storm in the early1990s and now the fighting is in Iraq and
Afghanistan against terrorists. Franklin and Crawford County have
residents and descendants involved with these wars in various
capacities in all 5 branches of the military. In fact, as you can see,
the people of Franklin have been involved in every major conflict since
World War 2, and I feel they will continue to be part of America’s
fighting force for a long time to come.
In the words of our 40th President,
Ronald Reagan ….”Freedom is never more than one generation away from
extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It
must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the
When these wars and conflicts ended,
some of our hometown veterans did not return home as they made the
ultimate sacrifice for America. I’m sure you all have heard that…. All
gave some and some gave all.
The last group of people I want to
mention is very often the least thanked and the least appreciated, at
times. They are the quietest, but the strongest, and, without question,
the most needed of all of America’s fighting forces. That group is that
of the families of all our veterans…. the mothers, the fathers, the
spouses, the brothers and sisters and the children of members of
America’s military. Families feel a sense of pride and patriotism
whenever one of their members joins the military. I try to imagine the
pride felt by the first immigrants to Crawford County and Franklin as
their sons and daughters signed up for military service. It was their
way of saying thanks to this great country that helped them build a
better life for themselves and their families. Whenever a person
a branch of America’s military, like it or not, that person’s whole
family joins as well. They provide the moral support and the love that
fighting person needs to make it through some mighty tough days. The
family is there in spirit and in so many other ways. Without family,
America’s military forces would NOT be what they are --- the best in
the world. To me, the love and support provided by the families of our
fighting men and women is what makes America the greatest Nation in the
General Peter Pace-Current Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "Families serve this
well as anybody. They stand in the background, pray that we come home
safely and when we do, they stay in the background and act like they
had nothing to do with it. But families serve this nation as well as
I’d like to read a quote from former
President Theodore Roosevelt that I believe fits today’s occasion
exceptionally well. It says…
"In the first place, we should
insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an
American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact
equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate
against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But
this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an
American and nothing but an American...There can be no divided
allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else
also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the
American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is
the English language... And we have room for but one sole loyalty and
that is a loyalty to the American people."
I believe this is an important part
of our “Salute to Veterans” and I believe it says it all with respect
to the immigrants of Franklin. In every way, the immigrants that
populated this town from all corners of the world more than a hundred
years ago lived up to what former President Roosevelt said in this
speech so long ago. These people, our ancestors, came here in good
faith and assimilated themselves to America. They came to work the
mines, farm, and do the other varied forms of labor to become Americans
in every facet of their lives. They had no divided allegiance and they
had but one loyalty---America. They learned the American language and
they learned to love the American flag and all it symbolizes to all
true Americans and the world. You just can’t do any better than that!
I’m sure you all agree that the people of Franklin owe these Veterans a
big thank you for all they have contributed. Won’t you join me in
giving them a round of applause to thank them for their honorable
contribution? Thank you.
Moment of Silence & Taps
American Patriot Awards: Fred
Bogatay - Announcement of Winning Entries
of "Why I Love America"
Closing: Captain Craig
1st Prize (Age Group - Under 30)
218 W. Main
Love for America
has different cause for each and every citizen. To me, I think of the
wonderful experienced I have enjoyed thanks to this country. Though I
these opportunities, other who have not, would still be able to relate
reason for the love I feel for this country.
have traveled to all but 1 of the
50 great states, and in doing so I have been privileged to experience
different cultures each area had to offer. Not only did I not once find
region that was not willing to share their culture, but you could also
glow of pride on every individuals face while sharing their life with a
treats its citizens to extraordinary views of nature with every stretch
land. The Grand Canyon
and Yosemite, the two most famous of America’s
National Parks, leaves people of all ages speechless with amazement.
every citizen is lucky to have these parks that preserve our history
most important reason for my love was the opportunity I was given, as a
to be able to serve in my country’s military.
Not only was I lucky enough to get stationed in a state where I
to add number 49 to my list of states I have been to, but was also able
prove my love by doing my part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where I met
husband. Without this country and the
opportunities it offers to everyone I would not be the person I am
Prize (Age Group - 30-50)
206 W. First
Franklin, KS 66735
In a story I
read earlier this month, employees inside the studios of Radio Caracas
Television, Venezuela's most-watched television
and chanted "Freedom!" on camera.
But it was to no avail. The
station, which has been broadcasting for 53 years, went off the air
government refused to renew its broadcast license.
government disagrees with the editorial or political views of this
which are obviously critical to Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez. The
citizens of Venezuela marched and protested but
in the end,
their government now has its own television station on-air and freedom
press in that country is no longer.
freedom of the press is an integral concept of our
country’s basic foundation and a part of the First Amendment to the
Constitution. Thomas Jefferson said, “Our liberty
depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without
Freedom of the press is
right to search for truth, our right to express opinions and ideas, and
to have it devoid of government control. It’s one of the many freedoms
which I am grateful for as an American citizen and one
of the many reasons why I love America.
Prize (Age Group - Over 50)
Pamela J. Beer
1827 J. F. Kennedy
Pittsburg, Ks. 66762
Why I Love
When I was three years old, my
sister and I said good-bye to my 30 year old father, who was drafted in
to the Army and served in the European Theater in Germany in
WWII. He returned after the war ended and had served his country
along with all the veterans with pride. He instilled in us the
value of freedom and his love for America. Because of men and
women like him who served and sacrificed their personal lives, my
sister and I lived a carefree (red, white and blue) American Dream
childhood. We received a college education that only women in
America were guaranteed.
I later married a union coal miner. Unions in America earned and
provided benefits that made mines safter for workers.
Miners were offered a chance to provide a decent living and the
American Dream for their families for the first time.
I taught in our small town American schools for 30 years. I
passed on the reality of the American Dream to thousands of young
Americans. That American Dream included the pursuit of life,
liberty, and happiness guaranteed to all citizens by the
constitution. A free American education opens that door to every
child. Patriotism is a given gift from our ancestors and should
never be taken lightly.
I love America and its history because it made my life what it is today
-- free and peaceful.