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‘Every American reaps benefits of a veteran’s service’

November 13, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - The New Ulm Post 1648 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander spoke about the sacrifices veterans and their families have made for America's freedom Monday at a Veterans Day Program in the New Ulm High School gym.

"Every American reaps the benefits of a veteran's service," said Wil Burdorf. "Remember the countless sacrifices of America's veterans as we honor them today for their selflessness and enjoy the many liberties we have."

Burdorf said American citizens must not forget those who defend freedoms and remember to support families while military are serving away from home.

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New Ulm Post 1648 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander Wil Burdorf spoke at the Veterans Day program at New Ulm High School on Monday morning.

Freedom prevails only with great costs paid by America's soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in far away lands often under extreme living conditions, he said.

"Our veterans have proudly gone where needed and made sacrifices that 99 percent of Americans don't make," Burdorf said. "Our troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must not forget them, especially our wounded warriors. We must ensure they get adequate health care, dignity and our respect. They're an inspiration for what they've done. God bless America, God bless you and thank a veteran and their family."

Later in the afternoon at the Washington Elementary School gym, four veterans spoke to students after students viewed a YouTube video on citizenship.

After a year of college, Dennis Lande of Coon Rapids followed a family tradition of military service. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served a tour of duty during the Vietnam War.

Lande continued his college education, taught science at Winona State University and later became a student teacher supervisor.

He displayed an overhead photo of a Vietnam War Memorial in Winona. The memorial listed 2,063 servicemen still missing, 58,209 dead, 153,303 wounded and 8,744,000 who served.

Mervin Jones, who farmed near Lake Crystal for most of his life, began his Navy career at age 17, serving from 1942 to 1946, as a gunner's mate on the USS Waterman DE-740, a destroyer escort that was awarded eight World War II battle stars.

Gene Olswold of New Ulm, the Second District American Legion vice commander, served 24 years in the U.S. Navy.

"I'm proud to be an American, still supporting the troops," Olswold said.

Staff Sergeant Carl Allen, of the New Ulm-based 1-125th Field Artillery, recently returned from a deployment in Kuwait.

"Everything I learned in the military transfers into being a good citizen," Allen said. "There are always things you can learn from others - values, leadership, loyalty, respect, courage, teamwork."

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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