Thanking our SunBird veterans
Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually to honor our military. The armistice that ended World War I was signed at 11:00 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. At that very time, SunBird residents will file into the ballroom to honor the sacrifices of our veterans.
One SunBird individual long ago took charge of our ceremony and for many years, brought us spectacular and emotional Veterans Days. Bill Wiedbusch, a retired USAF First Sergeant, continued to oversee this endeavor until his illness eventually led to his death August, 2016. As you attend our ceremony, remember Bill and his family.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day which in part said, “We are filled with solemn pride of the heroism of those who died in their country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.” He speaks of World War I where the battlefield took the lives of 291,557 brave men and women.
A proposition in 1938 made November 11 a legal holiday. A bill approved in Congress and signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954 further identified the day to Veterans Day instead of the former Armistice Day. The purpose then was to honor the military in all our former ways.
We are told that those who served in World War II are dying at a high daily rate. In May of 2018, 558,000 remained alive of the 16,112,566 who served.
This year, to honor and thank our SunBird veterans, a plaque was placed in the clubhouse hall across from the library, and a book with information about the veterans is available in our office.
Here are a few who served in the military:
Dale Huffman (deceased): World War II, Army 1944, fought with First Army in first wave going ashore at the invasion of Normandy, wounded and received Purple Heart, sent to Belgium, fought in Battle of the Bulge, wounded by a shell, survived it and frostbite, flown to English hospital, bomb hit, unhurt sent home finally
Bing Solomon: Vietnam 1965, Southeast Asia, mortar Army Sergeant in heavy artillery, ears damaged by heavy concussion
Earl Ferguson: USAF 1955-1958, pilot training and personnel, served in Philippines, rank of Captain
Bill Capeloto (deceased): Veteran of World War II and Korean War, many countries, discharged July 4, 1952, “It was really Independence Day for me.”
Jodie Perkins: Vietnam, front lines, Army 1966, Field Medic, duties care for and remove wounded, discharged 1969 as E-5
George Loury: USAF 1954-1958, rank 1st Lieutenant, pilot flying C-124 cargo plane
Rich Pickering: Korea, Army 1952-1953, Sergeant of Motor Pool near front lines
Bob Hamilton: Korea, joined Army 1951, in heavy mortars supporting ground soldiers, barely missed being in battle of Old Baldy, later guarded women and children prisoners
Sue Misner (deceased): U.S. Navy, nine and a half years, rank of Lieutenant
Jerry Misner: U.S. Navy, four years Korean War, flew a reconnaissance P2v Lockheed aircraft
Rob Arnold: Vietnam, three years in U.S. Marines
Jeff Carlson: U.S. Marines, Vietnam and Japan 1959-1972
Gene Tress: 20 years in USAF 1952-1972, Korea
Let us honor our veterans all our days and tell them how grateful we are for their sacrifices.