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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Teacher, students pay tribute to veterans

L-R: Doug Schwandt, Jake Dailey, Lyle Houge and Greg Sharp perform a folding of the flag

MAC English and drama teacher Shaun Kniep and student April Shields presented remarks in honor of veterans at the Veterans Day observance at the high school. Both granted the Record-News permission to reprint their words in this space.

NOTE: I have extracted information about Ringgold County's veterans from Shaun and April's articles. ~ SRB

From Shaun Kniep's article:

The veterans of Ringgold county have made history did you know that Lyndon Richards worked on the atomic bomb? Or that Dr. Duane Mitchell was a prisoner of war during World War II?

There are endless stories of our veterans that we could tell.

This fall my college composition class had the honor of going to the local nursing homes to meet and interview the veterans there. They met men like

  • Shorty Swanson, who was drafted in 1944.

  • Earle Schad, who on October 16, 1940 enlisted in the Navy and was one of five naval men sent into Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was set off.

  • Karl Wurster, who was assigned duty on the West Point ship which was a transporter ship for troops transporting over 8,000 soldiers while Karl was on board.

  • Ed King, who made sure while he was away that he wrote home once a week because staying in touch was very important to him.

  • Jack Hartman, who was 20 when he enlisted and said he would do it again.

  • Paul Smith, who said when asked if he was prepared, "Take a kid out of Iowa and send him to oceans he's never seen without much training, that's pretty hard."

  • Jake Dailey, who remembers a time when he and his three brothers who were also serving in the military (two in the Army, one in the Navy) each met in New York.

  • Harold Frost, who joined the Navy during the Korean war so he wouldn't be drafted and he could see the world.

  • Charles Hawkins, who served in the Naval Reserves and said that he felt everyone should want to protect this country.

  • Paul Campbell, who missed out on the birth of his daughter because he was serving in the Army.

  • Amon Hunt, who for a time during World War II went for 27 days without getting to take his shoes off.

  • Brad Holden, who enlisted in 1975 and was sent to Vietnam.

    These men had incredible stories and it was our honor and privilege to listen for just a little while.

    The history that they recounted for the composition class was priceless.

    As one of my students put in her paper, "Often times our veterans are overlooked and go unnoticed. Not because we don't realize they are there, but because of their great humbleness. Personally, I would like to thank each and every veteran for their time, service, and the freedoms I have because of them and I hope none of them go unnoticed on this Veterans Day."

    From April Shields' article:

    Brave. Kind. Passionate. Proud. Hard-working.

    These are just a few words that describe Jake Dailey and Harold Frost.

    I had the fortunate opportunity to interview both of these veterans about their time before, during, and after participating in the service. . . .

    "There is a bond between military people that, unless you see and know about it, is indescribable. These bonds that you form in the military are very strong." Jake Dailey used this to describe the life-long friends he made while serving.

    To me, this signifies that our veterans are passionate people. They give everything that they have. It also shows that they care about each other enough that they will do whatever it takes to protect each other.

    This is part of what Veterans Day is all about. This is what we are here to celebrate: the way that our veterans work together to protect our country.

    To some people, war is not something that should be discussed or acknowledged. They might ask themselves, "Why would we be on the other side of the world trying to fight somebody else's battle?"

    This is precisely what Harold Frost thought to himself when he first joined the service. To him, the war was not worth the price.

    However, while it might seem this way in the current moment, how can protecting our country not be worth something? How can celebrating our pride not be worth something?

    . . . Think of someone who has protected you without even knowing you.

    Think of someone who has had the bravery, courage and pride to protect our wonderful country.

    . . . Thank a veteran today.

    Tell them you appreciate them and truly mean it.

    These men and women have sacrificed so much throughout their lives.

    So, to begin paying them back, show them your gratitude for protecting you when nobody else would.

    This is what Veterans Day is all about.

    Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News

    Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2012

    To submit your Ringgold County items, contact Sharon R. Becker at
    Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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