Cordova Chronicles: Reflections on a Veterans Day passed

The note USAF MSgt Craig P. Scott received in a care package from Ryan Lemm, a young boy whose father was killed by a suicide bomb in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy Craig P. Scott)

Veterans Day, Nov. 11, recently passed. The date is chosen in remembrance of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the Armistice Agreement ending World War I, which was once described as “the war to end all wars,” was signed.

Clearly, 100 years later, wars have not ended. And one wonders if they ever will.

Each Nov. 11, I receive an e-mail from fellow veteran Ed Votroubek, reminding us of our service.  We ended up in Korea for a year during the height of the Vietnam War.

The note USAF MSgt Craig P. Scott received in a care package from Ryan Lemm, a young boy whose father was killed by a suicide bomb in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy Craig P. Scott)

Here is this year’s message:

I spent an hour at the grade school of my young nephew (Liam Samford), in commemoration of Veterans Day.  The entire student body of this elementary school put together a program to honor military veterans.  They had a Boy Scout Color Guard present the colors, several students recite poems and give short narratives, plus several songs sung in unison to honor the USA and the vets.  The Principal identified each veteran in attendance by name, branch of service, and where each vet had served.

These types of gatherings always elicit some emotion from me! Today as wel l… There were 14 veterans sitting near the stage, apart from the rest of the audience (that audience filled the gymnasium/auditorium).

And as the 2018 Veterans Day approaches, I am inclined to thank each of my friends who served in military branches. Our service is one of the reasons that Veterans Day continues to be observed. We can always, and forever, be proud of how we served. Those of you who served in combat zones deserve our highest gratitude. Those of us who served in non-combat zones, nonetheless are honored for being a part of our military forces.  Each of us are honored on this day.

Have a great day.

The Company Clerk

Sgt Votroubek

Korea 1969-1970

It was a nice note, yet what struck me most was a response he soon received from his nephew, MSgt. Craig P. Stott, a Jumpmaster now in his 18th year of service in the U.S. Air Force.

Thank you, Ed!

I’m currently doing just that in Africa. As you may understand I can’t be specific on my location, but I can assure you the men and women with me are well equipped to take on anything that comes out way.

A few weeks after arriving I received a care package from a non-profit organization out of NJ called Adopt-A-Platoon Solider. They have been sending me care packages for roughly three years no matter what location I’m at.

I tell you that to tell you this, in one of the boxes was a note from a little boy named Ryan Lemm (note attached). I served with his father and after Dec. 21, 2015, when he passed due to a suicide bomber, I was asked if I would fill his role in Afghanistan. Without hesitation I volunteered knowing what the outcome could be. We make decisions and take risks not because we have to, but because we raised our right hand and took an oath to protect this nation no matter the cost.

We as veterans spent/spend more time away from our families than with them. We grew friendships nothing could break. I’m glad you older guys paved the path. Hopefully us young bucks can keep the tradition and honor going. Happy Veterans Day to you all and wish you the best!

MSgt. Craig P. Stott

Jumpmaster USAF

18 years and going

Photos of the remarkable letter he received from young Ryan Lemm are shown alongside this feature. Expressed in primary school years print, his hopes — for liking the treats in his care package, and for remembering his father, who served in hopes of making a better world — leave one speechless.

Poignant and piercing words from such a young but no longer innocent voice.

Soon the holiday season will be upon us, with wishes for peace on earth and good will toward all men. Like this little boy and his father, isn’t that what we all hope for?

“Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be

Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.”

                                                The Beatles, 1971

Sgt. Shellhorn

Battalion Signal Section

Korea, 1969-70

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Dick Shellhorn, author, reporter, ref and grandpa, can be reached at shorn@gci.net. Shellhorn was born and raised in Cordova, Alaska, and has lived there his entire life. He has been writing sports stories for the Cordova Times for over 40 years. In his Cordova Chronicles features, he writes about the history and characters of this Alaska town. Alaska Press Club awarded Shellhorn first place for Best Humor column in 2016 and third place in 2017.