"We Salute Our Veterans"
Sunday - June 24, 2007 - 11am
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Thank You!!
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!
Thanks to: 
The American Legion Riders
Bob Torbett (Director American Legion Riders/Patriot Guard)
Major General Joe Scepansky
Bob Peternell
Craig White
Angela Newberry
Fred Bogatay (Command Sergeant Major, (Ret), USAR)
Veda Maxwell

Why I Love America Essay Contest Winners

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Arrival of American Legion Riders/Patriot Guard

Invocation by
Major General Joe Scepansky

Principal Speaker
Fred Bogatay (
Command Sergeant Major, (Ret), USAR)

Special Guest
Clark Fikes


Special Guest
Tony Zemlock


Introductory remarkes &
Introduction of guests by
Bob Peternell

Bob Torbett
American Legion Riders/Patriot Guard)

Closing Remarks
Captain Craig White

Music performed by
Angela Newberry


Procession by American Legion Riders

Welcome:  Craig Stokes, Chairman, FCCI

As 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 residents who have returned for this event.   But we would also like to recognize ALL veterans in attendance today and remember those who were unable to be here.   We appreciate their service. 

I’m honored to introduce Major General Joe Scepansky a former Franklin resident. He joins us today from Texas.   Joe will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance and give the invocation.

Pledge of Allegiance: Led by Major General Joe Scepansky

Invocation:  Major General Joe Scepansky

Introductory Remarks:  Bob Peternell

Introduction of Guests:   Bob Peternell

Good 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.

“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 same.” 

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 joins 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 world!!!!!

General Peter Pace-Current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said,   "Families serve this nation as 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 anybody."

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.

Introduction of Veterans

Moment of Silence & Taps

American Patriot Awards:  Fred Bogatay - Announcement of Winning Entries of "Why I Love America"  Essay Contest

Closing:  Captain Craig White   

1st Prize (Age Group - Under 30)

Angela Fairbanks
218 W. Main
Arma KS 66712

Why I Love America

Love for America has different cause for each and every citizen. To me, I think of the many wonderful experienced I have enjoyed thanks to this country. Though I have had these opportunities, other who have not, would still be able to relate to my reason for the love I feel for this country.  

I have traveled to all but 1 of the 50 great states, and in doing so I have been privileged to experience the different cultures each area had to offer. Not only did I not once find a region that was not willing to share their culture, but you could also see the glow of pride on every individuals face while sharing their life with a complete stranger. 

            America treats its citizens to extraordinary views of nature with every stretch of land.  The Grand Canyon and Yosemite, the two most famous of America’s National Parks, leaves people of all ages speechless with amazement. Each and every citizen is lucky to have these parks that preserve our history and landmarks. 

            But the most important reason for my love was the opportunity I was given, as a woman, to be able to serve in my country’s military.  Not only was I lucky enough to get stationed in a state where I was able to add number 49 to my list of states I have been to, but was also able to prove my love by doing my part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where I met my husband.  Without this country and the opportunities it offers to everyone I would not be the person I am today.

1st Prize (Age Group - 30-50)
Jody Kobak Feagan
206 W. First St.
Franklin, KS 66735

Why I Love America
In a story I read earlier this month, employees inside the studios of Radio Caracas Television, Venezuela's most-watched television station, cried and chanted "Freedom!" on camera.  But it was to no avail.  The station, which has been broadcasting for 53 years, went off the air after the government refused to renew its broadcast license.  

Apparently the Venezuelan government disagrees with the editorial or political views of this channel, 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 of the press in that country is no longer. 

For America, freedom of the press is an integral concept of our country’s basic foundation and a part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Thomas Jefferson said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”   

Freedom of the press is our right to search for truth, our right to express opinions and ideas, and our right to have it devoid of government control. It’s one of the many freedoms for which I am grateful for as an American citizen and one of the many reasons why I love America. 

1st Prize (Age Group - Over 50)
Pamela J. Beer
1827 J. F. Kennedy
Pittsburg, Ks. 66762
Why I Love America
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.