Veterans Day Celebration Brings New Appreciation


Ryan (Fuzz) French, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Monday I had the absolute honor of attending the 12th annual Veterans Day celebration at the Resch Center.

This was a tremendous event put on by the National Patriotic Society. The society has a division that calls the Green Bay area home.

This event was attended by many esteemed people including Mayor Jim Schmitt and Congressman Mike Gallagher.

However, the most prestigious attendees were the men and women being recognized.  

While the event did claim host to all veterans, it especially honored the veterans who fought in WWII.

While talking to these men and women, I learned many things. The stories gave me perspective as to what these soldiers saw and did in order to defend this country.

Don Chimmels was one of these men. Chimmels joined up in 1940 when he was only 18.

Chimmels was stationed in the West Pacific and was an aircraft mechanic.

The conditions, terrible. No fresh food, only dehydrated vegetables and some “unknown” meats.

Although the conditions he experienced were terrible, they could have been far worse. Being just a couple hundred miles south, Chimmels could have found himself in a region stricken with malaria. Just a couple hundred miles to the north, Chimmels would be right in the middle of the fight.

“I felt fortunate to be stationed where I was. Worst thing to worry about was the surprise bombings,” said Chimmels.

During this time Chimmels experienced invasions and bombings courtesy of the Japanese military.

This shocked me. At eighteen this teenager was in constant worry for his life. It made me examine my own life.

I cannot even imagine being told I would have to leave my family and hometown to fight a foreign nation in a foreign land.     

I have always had a major feeling of respect for the military members and the veterans that have served.

But this experience multiplied that respect by a thousand.

Seeing the brave men and women that served our armed forces was just remarkable. Hearing what they went through and what they had to do just to survive one of the deadliest wars in the history of the world was something I’ll never forget.

Mayor Schmitt said, “We are thankful for our families, our friends and for all the things in our lives. But most of all for you, the brave men and women who defended our country.”

They were truly the greatest generation this country has ever seen and have served with honor and great integrity.

I thank each person who is willing to sacrifice their families, their future, and, most of all, their entire selves in order to protect my freedoms.  

Thank you, veterans, and God bless each and every one of you.