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Veterans share stories on U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s site
Community members gathered Monday to thank those who have served, to salute current military personnel and to remember 23 local servicemen who died overseas in the past 10 years.
Mark Snyder, retired U.S. Army colonel and keynote speaker at the county’s annual Veterans Day observance, noted the debt of gratitude Americans owe the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who have fought on our behalf.
And it’s not just their fellow citizens who should be thanking American veterans, Snyder said at the event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in east Vancouver.
How many nations, other than the United States, did not subjugate the nations they defeated in war? Snyder wondered: Are there any?
“Peace and prosperity across much of the globe was only possible through the collective service of each individual veteran,” said Snyder.
Snyder retired in June after 30 years of service on active duty and in the Army Reserve. It’s a career that took him to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm two decades ago, as well as more recent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, pointed to 23 memorial posters on the wall of the reserve center’s assembly hall, representing the sacrifice of 23 servicemen with local ties who have died in military operations since 2003. They represent family sacrifices, too, she said.
“Family members continue to go on after service members die in the line of duty,” Herrera Beutler said.
Even military families that don’t make that ultimate sacrifice must face challenges their neighbors can’t imagine. Reservists and members of the National Guard are involved in a much bigger share of the war-fighting now than in previous conflicts.
If you see a soldier in uniform in the Vancouver-Portland area, there’s a good chance he or she is in the Reserves or National Guard, Curt Loop, retired Army major general, said.
Two of the people attending Monday’s ceremony, presented by the Community Military Appreciating Committee, have a personal link to the topic of the hometown soldier.
“My dad’s in the military,” 8-year-old Victoria Sell said proudly.
The girl’s mom, Marnie-Anne Sell, explained that her husband, Leonard Sell, retired as a lieutenant colonel after 25 years in the Army.
“Chip” Sell received a Purple Heart after being wounded by a mortar blast while serving in Iraq in 2004, his wife said.
“We’re involved with organizations that work with wounded veterans,” she said. (They include Team River Runner and Disabled Sports USA).
“We’ve met so many young soldiers and their families,” the Vancouver woman said. “They’ve been to war and back, and they’re so young.”