Iowa Gold Star Military Museum Honors Local Veterans

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  This weekend, people across the country are paying tribute to those who served for Veterans Day. The Veterans Tribute Celebration in the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston honors all veterans, and on Saturday you can hear from guest speaker Naval Commander Larry Spencer.

Larry Spencer grew up in Earlham and served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. In 1966 his plane was shot down over North Vietnam and he was held there as a prisoner of war for nearly seven years. He was a prisoner in the same camp as Senator John McCain. He said they ate spinach soup almost every day and he had to sew more material on his shirt to make it longer. Even through the long years of waiting to be released he still remained positive. He said positive attitude plays a huge role in how happy you allow yourself to be.

“You learn to take the good days and enjoy those and when you have a day that’s not quite so good you say well, there will be a brighter day tomorrow,” Spencer said.

Sunday is not only Veteran’s Day, but it also marks the 100th year since the end of World War I.

“Indeed, it is the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, 100 years since the armistice was signed, ending World War I,” Spencer said.

The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum in Camp Dodge includes displays and exhibits from past wars and features Iowans who served in them.

“Iowa is acknowledged as a strong supporter of the military, so we are very fortunate here and to have the opportunity to honor all veterans, that’s the thing that we think about when veteran’s day comes,” Spencer said.

The Veterans Tribute Celebration is open to the public this Saturday from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. and there will be a free lunch for the first 200 people.