A Message of Camaraderie as Veterans Day Approaches

JOHNSTON, Iowa — On Sunday the country will pause to honor the veterans who served our country, but Saturday at the Iowa Gold Star Museum Iowa veterans helped recognize each other.

“There are very few things in the military that anyone can say ‘I did that all by myself, this was a one man operation’ ‘cause that’s not the way the military works” said Larry Spencer.

Retired Commander Spencer was the keynote speaker. Spencer spent nearly seven years as a POW after he was shot down over Vietnam. Today, his message was camaraderie.

“Some people feel like there wasn’t anything unique that they did while they were in the military, you know, ‘I did my job and I put my four years in and then I got out’ said Spencer.

Spencer says that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

“Everybody has to do their part, and you realize that yes, some jobs are more glamorous or have more visibility, but all the jobs that have to get done are important” he said.

It was also an opportunity for the community to say thanks, something Vietnam veteran Michael Booker didn’t take for granted.

“People make you feel welcome and appreciated and that was kind of a hard thing to swallow coming back, you weren’t appreciated for your service but it was something we had to do, and we did it” said Booker.

Both Booker and Spencer say while appreciation was shown to them by people of all ages, they appreciate the amount of young Iowans who came out.

“I think it’s important for them because if you don’t know where you came from, how do you know where you’re going to go?” said Booker.

“It gives you a tremendous feeling of happiness, of belief and restoring your faith that yes, people do get the big picture when they take a step back and look at it” said Spencer.

The Gold Star Museum also hosted a supply drive for veterans in need.