American Legion Post 662 Conducts Memorial Day Service

Sergeant Bluff Honors Fallen Heroes


     (SB) - On May 27, 2024, in a touching homage to the valiant individuals who sacrificed their lives for our country, the American Legion Post 662 held a Memorial Day Service at the Woodbury Township Cemetery in Sergeant Bluff. This service served as a solemn reminder of the countless sacrifices made by men and women in their line of duty. It was an event filled with profound respect and gratitude for those who have served our nation and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
     The Sergeant Bluff community came together, united in memory and appreciation. The service, led by the American Legion Post 662, underscored the true price of freedom and the debt we owe to those who have served.
     The American Legion Post 662 remains a shining symbol of patriotism and service within the Sergeant Bluff community.

American Legion Post 662 Memorial Day Speach by Kevin Duane Alons, Senator, Iowa District #7
American Legion Post 662 Memorial Day Speach by Kevin Duane Alons, Senator, Iowa District #7

Fallen Heroes
By Kevin Duane Alons Senator, Iowa District #7

      As we gather here today, on this solemn occasion of Memorial Day, we come together to honor and remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. These courageous soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines gave their lives in defense of this great nation and our truly exceptional Constitution which defines our inalienable, God given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
      On this day we are reminded of the bravery and selflessness of those who have fallen fighting for each of us, over the time span of our United States, with a natural focus on the great world wars in our relatively recent past. There are still some among us who watched WW2 unfold, sent loved ones off to battle and mourn individuals they knew and loved who did not return.
      I think it is important to reflect on the details of past military conflicts and the history of this important day of remembrance. We have reaped the benefits and prosperity those before have bestowed on us, and in many ways we have truly forgotten, or least fail to fully appreciate, the staggering scope and scale of the sacrifice made by people we might never know by name.
      World War 1 claimed the lives of well over 100,000 Americans, in World War 2 the number was over 400,000. These fearsome wars, fought in multiple theaters across the globe, were reluctantly engaged in but ultimately we led the world to victory, in global wars against tyranny, fascism and the evils of the Nazi regime. The Korean War cost our country over 36,000 lives and the Vietnam War saw nearly 60,000 die in service to our nation. Over 7,000 have died in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq since 9/11.
      Those statistics represent the precious blood of so many patriots, but I believe it is important to also look farther back in our nation’s history to the Civil War and before that the Revolutionary War – the 2 most costly military engagements, both fought right here on our soil. The Revolutionary War saw ~25,000 dead (~1% of the nation’s 2.5 million people), the Civil War saw over 600,000 fall (2% of the nation!) to ensure all lives are equal by law as they will always be to God.
      These early conflicts, more than any other, were waged to define freedom and our Constitutional Republic – and I believe honor our Creator, His principles and purpose for mankind. Like the unprecedented blessing following King Solomon’s humble request for wisdom to lead the young Jewish nation, our nation has been blessed beyond reasonable expectations by the wisdom, dedication and sacrifice of our founding fathers.
      This day of remembering traces its history to 1865, shortly after the Civil War, with a parade of freed slaves and Union soldiers, marching through Charleston, South Carolina. A city observance in Waterloo, New York, on May 5, 1866 is considered the official start of Memorial Day.
      This official federal holiday, falling on the last Monday of May, honors and mourns the US military personnel who died serving in the United States Armed Forces. This day is so important to our nation, because it brings into focus the fragile nature of freedom, the cost in human life of keeping it, and highlights how richly we have been blessed by the selfless sacrifice of those before us.
      From those first patriots who signed a Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (at incalculable risk to life, liberty and possessions), through the Cold War and President Reagan’s defiant challenge to communism “Tear down this wall”, and the most recent “War on Terror” - the members of our military have always been ready to fight and die for the principles enshrined in our Constitution.
      I fear we are losing sight of all our nation stands for and have lost faith in those fundamental freedoms of free speech, freedom of religion and to worship God, the universal rule of law, and the freedom to reap the rewards of our work (and the necessary and associated risk of failure). May we not be the generation that fails to remember what we have been given and so take for granted what we have until it is forfeited on the altar of convenience and entertainment.
      I believe it was faith in these core principles, instilled in our founding fathers by our Creator that empowered and propelled each of them to courageously stand against tyranny and pledge their commitment to the risky proposition of freedom, equality and self-governance.
      It is easy to express appreciation for how it all it all turned out – the birth of America, the growth of a nation; economic, military and ideological leadership across the globe, and a powerful military that is still second to none.
      But as the cliché says, “freedom isn’t free” and to again quote President Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in our bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
      When we think of those who have fallen, we reflect on their bravery and selflessness. But it's important to also remember why they fought. They didn't just fight for a flag or a piece of land. They fought for something much greater—they fought for the principles enshrined in our Constitution.
      As we stand here today, we must ask ourselves: What will be our legacy? How will we honor the sacrifices of those who came before us? Will we be worthy of the freedoms they fought and died for?
      The implications of their sacrifice are clear. We have a duty—a solemn obligation—to uphold the values that they died defending. We must strive to be better citizens, to be more engaged in our communities, and to live by the Golden Rule – treating others the way we would want to be treated. Each should consider the charge of President John F. Kennedy: “ask not what your country can do for you – as what you can do for your country.”
      So let us honor the memory of our fallen heroes not just with words, but with actions. Let us strive to be worthy of their sacrifice, and let us never forget the debt of gratitude we owe to those who gave everything so that we may live in freedom.
      Thank you, and may God bless America.