Oskaloosa.com

November 13, 2012

Local World War I veterans remembered

By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Local veterans gathered at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post Sunday morning to pay tribute to World War I veterans on Veterans Day.

Local World War I veterans were recently honored when a bronze plaque commemorating the service of soldiers in the 42nd Rainbow Division was moved from the Oskaloosa city square to the veterans memorial at Forest Cemetery.

The monument was located on the northside of the city square, Master of Ceremonies Fred Bridges of the American Legion said. Now, the 42nd Rainbow Division monument rests on the southside of the veterans monument at Forest Cemetery, he added.

“It’s a beautiful monument,” Bridges said.

The bronze plaque is embedded in granite and sits atop a cement foundation.

“Thank God it’s at home and at rest,” Bridges said of the relocated monument.

William Penn University student Charlie Comfort, who did research on the 42nd Rainbow Division monument, was the guest speaker for the Veterans Day commemoration.

In his speech, Comfort said that Veterans Day seems to get passed over between holidays and the public needs to do more to honor the sacrifices veterans make to ensure our freedom.

“It can be as simple as a monument,” he added.

Comfort said the 42nd Rainbow Division monument came up for discussion a couple of months ago. Karen Hafner at the Oskaloosa Chamber asked Comfort to research and write an opinion column in the  Oskaloosa Herald highlighting the monument and it ran on Oct. 12.

Comfort said the monument was covered by shrubs at its site on the city square. Now, it is located in a conspicuous spot for people to see and enjoy.

“Thank you,” Comfort said to the veterans for their service.

Comfort said his grandfather fought in World War II in the South Pacific. He had a hearing disability, but that did not stop him from serving his country, Comfort added.

“We as Americans take for granted the decision you made to fight for our country,” he said.

“I hope one day we recognize you every day,” Comfort said.

The ceremony closed with a bugler playing “Taps” followed by a salute fired by the VFW/American Legion honor guard outside in the VFW post parking lot.

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Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com