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Heroes recognized in memorial service

Managing editor

Drawing on his own experience, State Representative Bob Brookens told those in attendance at Monday’s Memorial Day services at Memorial Park in Hillsboro, there was a difference between getting involved and becoming committed.

Brookens said when his elderly father died in March, who was a World War II veteran, members of American Legion Riders/Patriot Guard shielded him and his family from protesters.

The protesters were picketing at the funeral, saying Brookens’ father dishonored his country by serving.

“American Legion Riders is a group of veterans who make sure grieving families can concentrate on grieving and block out protesters,” he said. “The riders stood guard at the funeral.”

Brookens asked, “Do we understand the commitment of these veterans?”

Some are retired, Brookens said, some still work full-time and take time from their jobs to serve veterans and their families.

“They come early and stay until the job is done,” he said, using their own money for travel and other expenses.

“American Legion Riders are passionate. We all should learn from the riders,” Brookens said.

On a lighter note, Brookens explained the difference between being involved and being committed.

“Take ham and eggs,” he said. “The chicken was involved but the pig was committed to the project.

“We need to be committed,” Brookens continued.

He said there are people in need everywhere. Brookens encouraged everyone to volunteer to help neighbors in Kansas, in other states, and in the world.

Earlier in his speech, Brookens said people were gathered Monday not to celebrate but commemorate those who served.

“We come to lay flowers at graves, flags at grave sites, and pay tribute,” he said.

The focus of Memorial Day should be on the men and women who fought for our freedom, Brookens said, and the commitment and sacrifice they made for us in the past and continue to make for us today.

Last modified May 27, 2009

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