WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Veterans Day in Keokuk

Nov 12, 2012

Sunday morning was not ideal for doing anything outdoors in Keokuk.

The sky was overcast, the temperature was dropping and the wind was whipping the flags throughout the Keokuk National Cemetery.

Mother Nature did not stop more than 70 people from leaving their homes and celebrating Veterans’ Day at the Keokuk Veterans’ Memorial.

The threat of rain led organizers to keep the proceedings short and sweet while still showing the proper respect and honor all veterans.

American Legion Post 41 Commander Pat Hogan welcomed those in attendance and informed them of the significance of the day.

“This is the 1st Veterans’ Day since the end of World War I where there are no surviving American veterans of that war.”

Earl Felker is a caretaker for the Keokuk National Cemetery.  He talked of the idea and significance of a volunteer army.

“A veteran is a fellow citizen,” says Felker, “an ordinary person who, at one point in his/her life, made a blank check payable to the U.S.A. for any amount up to or including life itself.  Americans who stepped out of the crowd and took an oath to support and defend our Constitution against all enemies.”

Mayor Tom Marion said he was honored to give the keynote address during the ceremony.

“Through the centuries, America has been a symbol to the world,” says Marion, “a symbol of higher ideal.  Many people still look to America for the hope and promise of something better.”

Marion says it is not just the veterans who deserved honor on Veterans’ Day.

“And to the families, a special word of thanks for the support they have provided during the good times and the bad times,” says Marion.  “They have served their country well.”

Hogan closed out the ceremony by reminding the crowd that the U.S.A. is “a country that has done many great things and has many great things to do.”

The 23-minute ceremony worked out well in terms of the weather, as the rain started to fall as soon as those in attendance started to get into their vehicles.