Iowa remembered its war dead across the state today. On the south side of the state capitol this morning, about 100 people gathered for a ceremony that had the familiar rituals of military observances: a firing salute, the playing of taps, and the laying of wreaths in front of war memorials.
Daniel Gannon of Ankeny was a Marine Corps platoon leader in Vietnam. He says it’s important for Americans – especially veterans – to take time to talk about the experience of war.
“For we are living witnesses, and if we become silent, those sacrifices will be forgotten. Remember, freedom isn’t free,” he said.
He says the rituals involved in ceremonies like this help all Americans understand and remember the sacrifices that thousands of Iowans have made in the nation’s wars.
“How do we honor those who did not come home, or came home broken and bent in body and spirit? And remember, many are still suffering today,” Gannon said. “Forgetting of war experiences means we will all forget those experiences, therefore we must talk.”
Gannon said it’s important to remember and care for those who did come home from war, but still suffer physically or mentally, from ailments related to the defoliant Agent Orange, or from PTSD.
A ceremony was also held this afternoon at the World War Two Memorial at the state capitol.