Tuesday, May 28, 2013
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'We should thank God that such men lived'

Lt. Col. Stan Manes delivers a Memorial Day

message in Mount Pulaski


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[May 28, 2013]  MOUNT PULASKI -- The Memorial Day speaker at both the Mount Pulaski American Legion Post 447 Hall and in the chapel at the Mount Pulaski Steenbergen Cemetery was Mount Pulaski native Lt. Col. Stan Manes, of the Illinois National Guard Operations Department.

Manes began with a reference to Gen. George C. Patton, who once said: "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived."

Manes went on to thank all those who have served our country in various military and military-related capacities: American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Affairs Women's Auxiliaries, Sons of American Legion fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grand-mothers, firefighters, police, emergency services personnel, and all those who are or have been engaged is some direct military or military support efforts and/or community volunteer efforts, whether at home or abroad.

He proudly recounted remembrances of participating in Memorial Day marches down to Mount Pulaski Cemetery for services in his youth. He excitedly explained how thankful he was to be asked to speak for the observances Monday and that he is so very grateful for being able to serve his country for 19 years thus far.

He has been ever mindful of a former Mount Pulaskian, Lt. Col. Steve Holmes, who had retired but was asked to return to service in the first Iraqi war, to which he could have said "no" but instead answered the call to arms.

Manes has served all over the world, in Korea, Afghanistan and lately in Poland as part of an Operations Readiness team to help the Polish military in their support of coalition forces in Afghanistan. He gave special recognition to the fine Polish military, who represent a country that is so thankful for American aid in all wars and military conflicts -- for the American spirit of democracy and freedom now and in the past.

He gave a touching account of a Polish teenager of 17 who escaped the jaws of the Nazi encroachment by way of a small sailboat and eventually immigrated to America, settling in the Polish-named town of Mount Pulaski. Anthony "Tony" Skielnik went on to learn English, became educated in mechanical engineering, worked and instructed in mechanics for many years, and made several inventions along the way in his adopted country.

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Manes concluded with his favorite Bible passage: "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." -- John 15:13

Nearly 300 of all ages attended all three services.  American Legion Post 447 Commander, Bob McCue, introduced recently re-elected Mayor Jim Fuhrer, Mt. Pulaski American Legion Auxiliary Unit Officer Phyliss Becue (scholarship chairperson) and Pastor Christopher Decker, Mt. Pulaski Zion Lutheran Church, who gave both the Invocation and Benediction at each site.  Commander McCue and newly elected Commander Ken Buckles barked out orders to the combined Mt. Pulaski American Legion Ryman-Fuiten Post 447, the Mt. Pulaski VFW Scroggin-Gee Post 777 and Mt. Pulaski American Legion SAL Squadron 447 firing squad in their 3-rounds “Salute to our Fallen Comrades”  outside the Legion Hall and in the Steenbergen Cemetery.  Taps was played by long-time bugler and former Mt. Pulaski Post 447 Commander, Alan Roos, of Chestnut.  At the Mt. Pulaski Vonderlieth Living Center, 19 veterans were grateful for our appearance and short service there, as we were so ever grateful for their services to our country.  The great room there was filled to capacity by wives and relatives of the veterans, and by other patients who had had husbands, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and/or loved ones in the service of our country. Each member of the Mt. Pulaski Veteran units, including members of Mt. Pulaski American Legion SAL Squadron 447, shook hands with each veteran and thanked each for their service to our country.  Pastor Decker gave a short talk and provided a Benedictory prayer accompanied with a blessing.

[Text from file received from Phil Bertoni:
photos by Alan Schaal]

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