Defense comes with a great price

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 13, 2006

By Sarah Light, staff writer

America never would have come this far without the heroes known as veterans, said Sgt. 1st Class Ray Folven, during a special Veterans Day program Saturday at the Freeborn County Government Center.

&8220;Freedom is not free,&8221; Folven said. &8220;To my fellow veterans, I say thank you.&8221;

Folven and Staff Sgt. Jeff Dahlen, both active guard reserve members of Albert Lea&8217;s Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment, addressed a full house of veterans, family members and other community members as part of the program in the courthouse.

On this one day out of the entire year, &8220;we offer them our gratitude,&8221; Folven said.

He noted the thousands of American soldiers who paid the ultimate price in the wars throughout history and said U.S. citizens should thank all veterans for the many freedom that the people of this country enjoy.

During his speech, Dahlen also thanked the many veterans who have stepped forward to serve this nation.

&8220;Defense comes with a great price,&8221; Dahlen said. &8220;All of America&8217;s veterans have placed the nation&8217;s security before their own lives.&8221;

He described veterans as sheepdogs, people &8220;who can walk into the heart of darkness…and walk out unscathed.&8221; These individuals protect the flock from the wolves, or evil influences in the world, Dahlen said.

The program began after the raising of the colors, a rifle salute and taps by the honor guard on the west side of the government center.

After the morning program, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary served a luncheon in the American Legion clubrooms and had another afternoon program.

At both sessions, the Careyaires sang for those in attendance. They, too, recognized members the different parts of the armed service.

During the meeting, Duane Hatleli, Post 447 commander, also recognized those who helped with the three years of planning for the new Freeborn County Veterans Memorial.

&8220;We live in the greatest nation on earth, but we&8217;ve got to fight to keep it,&8221; Hatleli said after the morning meeting. &8220;Hopefully most people stay patriotic.&8221;

Sandy Maiden, head of the Women Veterans for Freeborn County, who was also at the event, said she was happy to see how the women veterans were represented on the new memorial.

&8220;We stand with the fellows,&8221; Maiden said. &8220;We&8217;re slowly coming to the front.&8221;

She said she thinks the military has been good for helping young people grow up as leaders.

Eileen Flugum, who also attended the event, said she thought the program was &8220;fantastic,&8221; and she encouraged people to support our troops.

&8220;We have some wonderful boys and girls who are serving today,&8221; said Flugum, whose husband served in Austria right after World War II. &8220;They should be commended. They&8217;re in our prayers everyday.&8221;