Veterans Day, unlike Memorial Day, is a time for veterans and their families to come together and remember old friends and events from their time serving their country. You have all heard the expression "band of brothers." I am here to talk about a "sisterhood" made up of the mothers, wives and children who supported these men and women while they where defending this country and freedom throughout the world.

From the very beginning of this country, women have kept the home front going. They did so by working on the family farm, during the Revolutionary War and Civil War. During World War I and World War II they left their homes and some worked in factories doing the work of the deployed men, all the while raising families. Then came Korea, Vietnam and the present wars -- some things never change. Brave men and women answer their country's call to service and their families carry on while praying for the safe return of their loved ones.

How many of you can remember planting victory gardens? Some of the children present here today have sent cards or cookies to our present troops and of course the troops and families are in our own prayers. The American Legion Auxiliary is a "sisterhood" made up of women whose family members were in the military. Connie Tung is one of our Auxiliary members.

Her husband, Sgt. Baxter, was killed in action during the Korean War, leaving her with three children to bring up alone. Connie plants and cares for the flowers in this Veterans Park.


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The Auxiliary brings presents to the veterans at the VA hospital in Bedford every Christmas. When you make a donation in May for a Poppy, this money one year was used for a service dog that was paired with a disabled Iraq veteran. The past few years the money has gone to "Homes for Troops."

History is quickly forgotten. It is your duty to pass on to your children your stories of what you have done to support the men and women past and present of our Armed Forces. I started this speech talking about a "band of brothers" and a "sisterhood," but when you mix them together along with the children in these families, what you have is proud Americans. As long as we stay true to the values this great country was founded upon, we will prevail. God bless you all and thank you for coming today.

ELAINE DECELL,

Speaker at Shirley's Veterans Day ceremony.

past president and active member of George J. Morin Post 183 American Legion Auxiliary

Editor's note: This letter was submitted by Shirley American Legion Post President Charles Church who requested that it be published.