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Published: Saturday, 11/12/2005

Air Force general honors new generation of veterans

BY VANESSA WINANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Veteran Mike Leitner, a member of the Military Order of the Cooties, Pup Tent 4, watches SK2/SS Keith Pasenow carry a wreath to a monument. Veteran Mike Leitner, a member of the Military Order of the Cooties, Pup Tent 4, watches SK2/SS Keith Pasenow carry a wreath to a monument.
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FREMONT - American flags snapped in the wind yesterday as hundreds of people honored the nation's military personnel - past and present - during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Sandusky County Courthouse.

That picture of small-town America inspired the guest speaker, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force.

"It's a great town," the Texas native said. "On a pretty day in November, it makes you feel good to be here.

"This is a treat for me," the general said, looking at the people standing on the grass across the street. "These are the people you're sworn to defend."

He invoked visions of past conflicts, some familiar to the many veterans who attended the ceremony, which was organized by American Legion Post 121. Then the general spoke extensively of today's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Donald James Wensinger IV, 3, sits on the shoulders of his father, Donald James Wensinger III, in a Fremont ceremony. Donald James Wensinger IV, 3, sits on the shoulders of his father, Donald James Wensinger III, in a Fremont ceremony.
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He did not mince words when he spoke of terrorism.

"This war will not end quickly," he told the crowd. "We're going to have to find them and kill them."

He said the war in Afghanistan started for the United States almost 1,500 days ago, and has lasted longer than the country's involvement in World War II.

"This whole thing's a long war," he said after the ceremony. "This is a clash of philosophies. This is a clash about the future."

He praised the military's current crop.

"On the shoulders of these veterans we see here today," he said, nodding at the older men standing near him, "stands a new generation. We've got the best people in the world - the best educated, the most flexible, the most adaptable. It's an honor to serve with them. They're doing magnificent work."

After noting that he was inside the Pentagon when it was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, he noted that 40 percent of the Air Force's active duty personnel joined after that day.

"As we are blessed to be here in this great community, they are out there in hostile places," he said.

After he spoke, the Fremont Ross High School marching band played a medley of military tunes, followed by several local veterans groups laying wreaths near the courthouse to honor dead and missing military service members.

The ceremony ended with a 21-gun salute by members of Post 121, a bugler playing "Taps," and a short prayer.

Contact Vanessa Winans at:

vwinans@theblade.com

or 419-724-6168.



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