Citizens urged to remember sacrifices made by veterans Making a personal sacrifice for one's country requires a special commitment, according to Lt. Colonel Bernie L. Stansbury, who spoke at Veterans Day service in Vermillion. by David Lias Lt. Colonel Bernie L. Stansbury has had a career in the U.S. military that's spanned nearly two decades.
He's been to Korea. He's served in the Secret Service during the Reagan Administration. He's been an explosive ordnance commander, he's jumped out airplanes, and one of his most recent assignments was at the Pentagon.
Despite all of those experiences, he'll remember his role as speaker at Monday's Veterans Day service, held at the W.H. Over Museum in Vermillion, as being particularly special.
Stansbury, who today serves as battalion commander in the USD department of military science, easily could have been in the Pentagon the day it was attacked Sept. 11, 2001.
"Fortunately, I wasn't there that day, but unfortunately, many of my comrades were there. We had just moved into a new office space there. We lost 10 men that day and another seven are in long term care with burns and other injuries.
"That really hit home, and that's why it means a lot to be able to come here and speak to you all today," Stansbury said.
He looked out into the audience, which filled Sletwold Hall to capacity, and saw a number of veterans in uniform.
"Each one of you can be counted as a hero of this nation, and for that, we honor you," he said. "But you also embody so much of what this nation is all about."
Whenever a U.S. soldier has stepped onto a battlefield, he's demonstrating a unique love for his country, Stansbury said.
"Love of country is different is different from all other commitments," he said. "We have natural ties to our families, and sacrificing for our loved ones is something each of us does every day.
"But sacrificing for our country requires a greater commitment," Stansbury said. "It requires that we sacrifice our self interest and our private lives for the public good."
The United States, he said, was made possible by men and women who worked tirelessly to make their dreams come true. Often they had nothing to sustain them, Stansbury said, but hope and faith.
"To help our community member, many of us proudly wave our flag, and thanks to our great university, I am proud to wave Old Glory high in front of our Army ROTC building, where our future leaders of our great Army are being trained," he said.
Too many women and men who went off to war never returned to their families.
"But none who served never sacrificed in vain," he said. "They kept the torch of liberty burning bright in the oldest democracy on earth. Each and every one of them were heroes who gave to every child born thereafter a precious and irreplaceable gift."
Stansbury urged his audience not to grow pessimistic as the United States finds itself engaged in what appears may be a long, uneasy war against terrorism.
"Let us replace our fear with faith," he said.
And, he reminded the audience once again to never forget the sacrifices made by veterans for everyone's behalf.
"In our community, we don't have to look to textbooks to find heroes," Stansbury said. "They are all around us."