Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / November 8, 2000

The November 1995 issue of the American Legion magazine had an article by their national commander at that time, Daniel A. Ludwig. It was titled,”Discovering the Meaning of Veterans Day.”He shared how in Vietnam, Army veteran Webster Anderson lost both legs and one arm in heroic combat action that saved American lives and earned him the Medal of Honor.

Hearing Anderson’s story, a young child once asked him an innocent, but compelling question: “Would you do it again?” Anderson looked at the child and replied, “I’m just sorry I have only one more arm to give for my country.” In that moment, one youngster learned thetrue meaning of Veterans Day.

In the article, Ludwig mentioned that retired Army Gen. Patrick Brady oftenreflects upon Anderson’s story at this time of year. Brady, himself a Medalof Honor recipient, knows that combat is less about glory than about giving, less about public fanfare than quiet valor.

Also mentioned was that Sid Butterfield, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient, saw many of his buddies killed at Anzio in 1944. But he perseveredthrough the loss of life and of innocence, because he kept faith in a higher purpose. That higher purpose is the hallmark of soldiering, a culture wherelove of country comes before love of self, where patriotism is a way of life, not just a catchy slogan used by retailers to commercialize rememberances of our war dead.

This Saturday, Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day, Archbishop Blenk Assemblyof the Knights of Columbus of the River Parishes, will sponsor a tribute to veterans.

A mass will be celebrated at 6 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church inLaPlace. The KC Honor Guard will participate and the Destrehan High SchoolAir Force Junior ROTC unit will present the colors at the Mass. Localchapters of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars also will participate.

A dinner will follow in the Monsignor Dennis Bergeron Knights of Columbus Council 5935 Home. Council 5935 will provide the meal and the cost is $10.Reservations are required. The public is invited and all veterans areencouraged to attend and be honored on this, their special day.

For reservations, call Gerard Hymel at (225) 265-3212, Herman Lemoine at (225) 869-3336, Donald Loupe Sr. at (504) 536-3851, Del Couturie at (504)652-7751, or Floyd Friloux Sr. at (504) 764-6030.

HAROLD KELLER writes this column as part of his affiliation with the Get High on Life religious motivational group.

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