Archive for April 12, 2011
Congressman Dave Loebsack Presents Iowa Veteran With The World War II Victory Medal
After long wait, vet awarded
New London man's military record destroyed in fire.
By WILLIAM SMITH firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW LONDON – Many brave soldiers who served during World War II returned home with medals pinned to their chests. But Edward Earl Smith, who served in the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1947, wasn't among them.
The New London man, now 82 and confined to a wheelchair, never received the medals owed to him due to a fire at the National Personnel Records Center that destroyed his military record.
That changed Saturday when Rep. Dave Loebsack presented Smith with the American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal (given to those who served on active duty between Dec. 7, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946) and Honorable Service lapel button.
“It's been a long wait,” Smith said.
The ceremony took place inside the New London Nursing and Rehab Center, which was packed with family, community members and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7641.
Smith is in failing health now, and the care center has been his home the past couple of years, but he was delighted to have all four of his children, Steven Smith, Linda Smith, David Smith and Barb Blint, with him during the ceremony.
“This is a big thing for him and the family,” said Linda Smith, who also lives in New London.
Steven Smith of Iowa City heard the story of his father's missing medals a few weeks ago and immediately contacted Loebsack for his help. Loebsack, who sits on the Committee on Armed Services, has helped other World War II veterans secure their missing medals over the last few years.
“It's a great honor to present these medals to one who is a member of the greatest generation,” Loebsack said during a short speech. “We call them that for a lot of reasons. World War II was one of those wars we had to fight, there's absolutely no doubt about it.”
After his honorable discharge, Edward Smith attended the University of Iowa, where he became a bona-fide rock hound. Considering his father was one of the founders of Geode State Park, his love of rocks may have been part of his DNA.
The only thing incomplete in Edward Smith's life was those missing medals. And now that chapter has come to a close.
“He's had a wonderful life,” Linda Smith said.
(click here to read the entire story at The Hawk Eye)
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The struggle for justice can be slow and painful. I was discussing this today with my friend Joe Henry. Joe recalled a 94-year-old guy he'd met years ago who organized workers during the Great Depression. He reminded Joe that it took decades to accomplish real change.
“We helped our neighbors put food on the table,” the guy told Joe. “We stopped landlords from evicting unemployed men and their families. It was about working in communities, taking the long view, focusing on bread-and-butter issues and gaining the loyalty of people who were struggling and suffering.”
In short, it's all about meeting people where they're at with the challenges they face in their daily lives. It's about baby steps. It's about speaking truth to power, even when it's unpopular or dangerous.
Last week, I received a wonderful nudge assuring me that every little thing we do makes a difference. It was an e-mail letter from a young woman in Ohio, and it reminded me that we must persist in the struggle for justice, knowing that over time more hearts and minds will be influenced and progress achieved.
The young woman's name is Nichole, and here's the bulk of her letter:
“I am a college student and in my English class I have been required to do a research paper on same-gender marriages. At first I was undecided on how I felt about the issue and originally wrote and turned in my thesis statement wherein I opposed same-gender marriages.
“This weekend I have been doing some research on my research issue and came across your speech from 1996 relating to same-gender marriages. I have to say, it touched me. After reading your speech I realized that I was not in opposition for same-gender marriages.
“I just thought I would share with you my thoughts on your speech even though it was several years ago. It touched me and part of your speech actually became a quote in my thesis statement. Thank you again.
“Nichole Thomas — Cleveland, Ohio”
Thank you, Nichole. This week on the Fallon Forum, State Rep Chuck Isenhart joins us on Monday to talk about the corrupting influence of money in politics. We'll also talk with Jen Chapin about her anti-hunger campaign and her upcoming concert in Des Moines.
Tuesday, Dean Lerner is our guest. Did you know that nursing homes are allowed to use tax money to pay association dues, and the association then lobbies for changes favorable to the industry, often to the detriment of our elderly?
Wednesday, Marlene Doby talks about the upcoming celebration to mark the life of Evelyn Davis. Many events are planned to recognize the amazing contributions of this pioneer for children's and human rights. (See the events calendar for full details).
Also on Wednesday, Michael Gerson with the One Campaign discusses how federal budget cuts in foreign aid will affect hunger relief work, and how these cuts would impact Iowans.
Thursday, Walter Jahncke talks about his business, The Square Foot Gardener, and shares advice that's perfect timing for those eager to start a spring garden.
And for more non-right wing talk radio, check out The Bradshaw Show from 1:00-4:00 Monday-Friday.