(Photo by Randy M. Cauthron) [Order this photo]
Bundled and chilled, area veterans and Spencer area citizens gathered to honor those who have served and defended the nation in perhaps the briefest Veteran's Day service ever conducted.
Greenville native Sgt. Daniel Shaughnessy, with the Iowa National Guard, kept his comments brief -- under two minutes -- as steady winds chilled the sub-30 degree weather Monday morning. The ceremony was conducted at the Veterans Memorial, located in the plaza between Spencer Municipal Utilities and State Bank on Grand Avenue in Spencer. The entire service lasted approximately 15 minutes from start to finish.
"I have served in the military for a little over seven years now and I have been deployed to combat twice," Shaughnessy told those in attendance. "Being to different countries like Iraq and Afghanistan and seeing the way the people there have to live makes me even more proud and grateful to be an American. We have a lot to be thankful for and we owe a great deal to our veterans for the country we get to live in today."
Shaughnessy graduated from Clay Central-Everly in May 2004. In 2005, Shaughnessy enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 1-14th Cavalry, Ft. Lewis, Wash. He was deployed to Iraq from June 2006 to September 2007 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In December 2008 he enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard, Delta Co. 1-168th Infantry, deploying September 2010 to June 2011 to Afghanistan.
He added, "As we know, freedom isn't free and many who have served cannot be with us today due to the sacrifices they have made to ensure our American way of life is preserved. ... Since the founding of our country we have faced conflict and our veterans have always risen to the occasion and it is because of the veteran that we get to enjoy our freedoms."
Upon his return from Afghanistan, Shaughnessy was assigned to C Battery, 1-194th Field Artillery Estherville as full-time recruiting NCO.
Rev. Chuck Kellogg, with Grace United Methodist Church, a Vietnam veteran himself, offered the prayer.
"... As we gather here today our hearts are full of memories of friends and comrades who served under arms," Kellogg said. "We come to remember those who fell in battle and those who, while they did not die, offered their bodies, minds, hearts, and energies to fighting for a better world."
American Legion Post No. 1 Commander Frank Lehman presided over the service. Spencer High School senior Daly Tighe sang both the "National Anthem" and "God Bless America." On behalf of the Spencer Ambassadors, Dave Jacobson welcomed all who came to take part in the day's activities. Sharon Lough and Bonnie Pullen-Lehman placed the wreath at the monument. Jack Ryan and Kurt Schwarck performed "Taps" to conclude the service.
Additional services were conducted with students at Spencer High School and Sacred Heart Catholic Elementary School in the afternoon.