They say speakers who follow children or animals have a hard act to follow. This afternoon my turn at the podium came after an honorary fly-over by a B1 Bomber!
The people of our area today dedicated a South Dakota Veteran’s Park, a dream they have worked long and hard to bring about. Brigadier General Myrna Williamson, who grew up an hour away in Gregory, and is also being inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame, spoke about her life in the military. Then she introduced retired Major General Carl McNair who gave the keynote and told of the importance of honoring those who sacrifice for freedom.
One of South Dakota’s Gold Star mothers, whose son lost his life with the National Guard’s 200th engineering brigade while serving in Afghanistan, also gave a heartwarming reflection. She planted a tree on the grounds in his memory, and gave the memorial a special Gold Star flag to honor all families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty.
Research turned up that 15 of the SCJ priests and brothers who ministered here in South Dakota were also veterans. We purchased a paver brick with each of their names and dates of service. We also made tribute to all our St. Joseph staff and alumni who served.