Posted by Gary Pedersen on Nov 09, 2017
Nov. 11, 1918—The "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918 marked the cessation of hostilities in World War I—the war to end all wars. A year later in 1919, the first anniversary of Armistice Day was held at Buckingham Palace as Remembrance Day or Poppy Day, a day to remember the members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty in all wars. At the end of the Korean War, the United States began referring to this day as Veterans Day.
 
On this day, members and guests of the southwest metro Rotary clubs (Bloomington Noon, Eden Prairie AM, Eden Prairie Noon, Edina Morningside, Edina, Richfield and South Metro Minneapolis Evening) gathered for the Area 3 Rotary Veterans Day Luncheon as military anthems were played in the background by the Rotary Brass Quintet, led by Mary Bindle of the Edina Morningside Rotary Club. 
 
To watch video of the Veterans Luncheon, go here
 
 
Approximately 190 veterans, Rotarians and guests, and at least two WWII veterans attended the Area 3 Rotary Veterans Luncheon at Bearpath Golf & Country Club in Eden Prairie Thursday, Nov. 9. They gathered to honor and remember all those who have served or died serving their country. All five branches of military service were represented and cheered for their anthem as it was played. Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. 
 
District 5950 Governor Bob Halagan kicked off the meeting, welcoming all club members, dignitaries and guests in attendance and introducing Brigadier Gen. Dennis Schulstad, and former Edina Rotarian, as ceremony emcee.
 
The Shakopee Legion solemnly delivered the Colors as each person individually reflected on the meaning and importance of the flag of the United States of America, flown over so many battles, creating so many memories and draped over too many of our fallen. 
 
Priest Lt. Col. Jerome Fehn then shared a provocative invocation including John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields:"
 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 
Field of Poppies
We are the Dead.
Short days ago we lived,
Felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Flanders Fields
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.
 
The message for this Veterans’ Day was delivered by Major Gen. Robert Shadley. After serving 33 years in active duty, Gen. Shadley provided direct insights about military leadership from his service in Vietnam, Desert Shield and Desert Storm Wars. He described leadership as the “… art of getting things done when others don’t want to do it …” 
 
As Gen. Shadley reflected on the soldiers he has commanded over his career, he offered the thought of Francis of Assisi, “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” Veterans fought to keep that candle burning.  
 
We were reminded that veterans come in many occupations, ethnicities, religions and backgrounds and share four common characteristics:
 
  1. Competency—they are smart
  2. Character—they are proper
  3. Chemistry—they are team players, and
  4. Curious—they ask good questions.
 
We were reminded that since July 1, 1973, our military has been composed of all volunteers. These are the finest of people. Thank them. Engage them to learn about their service. Hire a veteran if you get the chance.  
 
Gen. Shadley also reminded us that it is the soldier, not the poet, reporter or campus organizer, that allows protesters to burn the flag. The soldier’s mission is to earn the freedoms that we all enjoy. Gen. Shadley closed by reciting the motto of the 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army (Big Red 1)—“No Mission Too Difficult, No Sacrifice Too Great. Duty First!”
 
Emcee Gen. Schulstad then thanked Gen. Shadley and reminded us of the Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund, which has provided over $10.7 million in grants to more than 16,700 Minnesota Veterans as a gesture of thanks for a job well done. 

Shakopee Legion retired the colors and as we adjourned, we were left with the feelings of gratitude for every veteran, for all of their personal sacrifices, for the sacrifices of their families and friends and with the thought that veterans are synonymous with “Service Above Self.”
 
To watch video of the Veterans Luncheon, go here
 
 
 
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