ANN BAILEY: On veterans: Giving back to those who give so muchNinety-two years ago on Nov. 11, World War I fighting ceased. A year later, on Nov. 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first observation of Armistice Day. In 1938, Nov. 11 became a legal holiday and in 1954 the word “Veterans” was substituted for Armistice. Since then, except for several years during the 1970s when Veterans Day was part of an October three-day weekend, all military veterans have been honored on Nov. 11.
Ninety-two years ago on Nov. 11, World War I fighting ceased. A year later, on Nov. 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first observation of Armistice Day.
In 1938, Nov. 11 became a legal holiday and in 1954 the word “Veterans” was substituted for Armistice. Since then, except for several years during the 1970s when Veterans Day was part of an October three-day weekend, all military veterans have been honored on Nov. 11.
Observing the day on Nov. 11, preserves the historical significance of the date and helps focus attention on its importance, said the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Veterans Day is a “celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good,” the website said.
My dad, Adrian Bailey, served for six years in the Army Air Corps during World War II and my brother-in-law, John Butz, served in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years, so I understand the sacrifices servicemen and servicewomen make. One of the many things they do to protect our country is spend time far away from their families, often overseas, in places with conditions that are much more primitive than ours.
Catherine Adams, a member of the 358th Army Reserve medical tech unit, and mother of three children under the age of 4, is one of the servicewomen from our area who is making sacrifices to serve in Afghanistan. A graduate of Central High School in Grand Forks, Adams began training for the mission in June 2010, arrived in Afghanistan in August and will remain there until September of next year.
“She will have been away from her babies for at least 14 months. We had never realized the sacrifice these families made until Cathy joined…. God bless our military for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe,” said JoAnn Naastad, Adam’s aunt.
Several weeks ago, Adam called Naastad and her husband, John, of Hatton, N.D., and asked them where they had printed the Q and Z Plumbing T-shirt they gave her. Adams wanted some more T-shirts so that members of her troop could use them when they did their work-outs. The Naastads, who own Q and Z Plumbing in Grand Forks, checked with the Fargo company that prints the T-shirts and got a good deal on not only the T-shirts, but also sweatshirts and can insulators — for all 80 members of Adam’s troop.
The word got out that the Naastads were sending care packages to the medical tech unit and other items started pouring in from area people and businesses.
“The community just went crazy,” JoAnn Nastad said. “We have razors, we have toothbrushes. We have shaving cream.” Other donations included hand sanitizers, decks of cards and dental floss. And those were just the non-food items.
Peanuts, juice, granola bars and other snacks also were donated. There were so many things donated that they didn’t fit in the 18-by-18-by-20 inch camouflage bags volunteers sewed. Besides the camo-bags, each troop member also received two 2-gallon zippered plastic bags of items, Naastad said.
About a week ago, 45 members of the Hatton community gathered in the Naastad’s garage to box the items. The care packages filled 18 boxes that totaled 1,200 pounds. The boxes and postage to send them also were donated, Naastad said.
The 80 members of the 358th Army Reserve medical tech troop and seven other military personnel from the Hatton area should receive the boxes sometime this week.
“I can’t wait for these soldiers to get them,” Naastad said. “They said life over there is simple, so anything you send is greatly appreciated.”
And Naastad appreciates getting to do something for her niece and the other military personnel and the knowledge that so many people care about them and wanted to help, too.
“Honestly, the blessings are all mine,” she said.