175th Salutes Veterans

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, November 20, 2013
November has been dedicated to honoring our armed forces, and the 175th Committee did just that on the evening of Veterans Day with a special presentation at the community center.

Over 100 residents and servicemen showed up to watch a series of videos that highlighted veterans and their time served during WWII, North Korea and Vietnam.

Many of the servicemen highlighted in the videos came from West Liberty and surrounding areas, including Gerald Costello, Joe Ryan, Victor Schweer, Jerry Carter, Jack McIntosh and Jim Reier.

The videos were created by West Liberty teacher Tom Carter in 2000 and 2001. He wanted to get a sense of West Liberty's involvement in the United States' greatest wars and conflicts.

To start the evening, West Liberty Legion Commander George Alt talked to the crowd about the American Legion.

"The West Liberty area is really good at supporting our veterans," he said.

Later on he discussed his work as a Veteran Affairs Commissioner, asking the crowd to get veterans involved. Former service men and women can receive health care, education, disability help, counseling, and more just by asking.

"There's a lot of veterans that don't even know we exist," he added.

After the video, the stage was taken by brothers and WWII veterans Bob, Walt and Fred Lehman along with North Korea veteran Lyle Zimmerman and Vietnam veteran Tom Barr.

They shared their own personal experiences in the military, as well as gave insights to life on the front lines.

"Because of the the draft, my friends were in school, next week they weren't there," said Barr regarding the Vietnam War.

He drew out the differences between the various American conflicts, showing gratitude to the men who served in WWII and North Korea. Then he spoke about the servicemen and women who never came home.

"They never got to be what we are, a veteran," he added.

Walt Lehman talked about the Purple Heart he received in WWII, an award that can only be received after an injury.

"In the Philippines a grenade exploded near my shoulder," he said, "And it wasn't a dud."

Their stories were both comedic and sobering, giving West Liberty a glimpse into the war front.
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