NEW ULM - A Vietnam Veteran from a small McLeod County town who later became the District 2 American Legion Commander addressed the Veteran's Day program Friday in the Cathedral High School gym.
Don Heuer, of Plato, served in the U.S. Marine Corps in South Vietnam in 1966-1967 read the poem "What Is A Veteran."
"A person who loves peace because he knows the cost of war...stormed the shore of Omaha Beach and the steamy jungles of Vietnam...and don't forget the angels of mercy, military nurses. They're veterans too," Heuer said.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
The Concord Singers perform Friday at the Veteran’s Day program in the Cathedral High School gym.
Heuer said World War II veterans and their spouses literally changed the world.
"We don't know where we'd be without them. Families sent their sons and daughters off to war. In the Big War (World War II), we'd lose thousands of troops in a day," Heuer added.
He talked about today's DNA matching technology that allows families of deceased veterans to reconnect with loved ones decades late when veteran's remains are recovered.
Heuer told the story of a U.S. military aviator shot down over Vietnam 40 years ago, whose remains were recovered and preserved by the son of a Vietnamese farmer who found the bones of the pilot shortly after he crashed.
"People go to war because they feel it's their duty. It's a self-less act, blessed by God," he added.
"I'm afraid we'll slowly lose that blessing by taking God out of our schools, cities and nation. Please pray for our duty to turn that around and get God's blessing," Heuer said.
He has worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) since 1970.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.