I visited Washington, D.C., this summer and was amazed by all I saw. I was very impressed by Lincoln's dedication and sacrifice. At Gettysburg I saw the graves of the Minnesota soldiers who died valiantly for the country. The Vietnam and Korean memorials were very moving and I was reminded of how my grandfather fought in the trenches in World War I in France. Many soldiers gave much in the name of our country. I saw the World War II Memorial for the first time and shook an old soldier's hand and thanked him for his service. It was a meaningful experience but very sobering when considering the cost in human lives.
Just recently I was reminded of local heroes when I read the obituary of James R. Fostervold. James must have been a true hero; a person who gave years of his life to fight in a foreign country and returned to the farm and not expect a spotlight. To quote his obituary, "He fought in the battles and campaigns at Normandy, northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and central Europe in World War II. His awards: two Silver Stars, Bronze Star for Bravery, Army Good Conduct Medal, WW II Victory Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Medal, D-Day Medal and Battle of the Bulge Medal. His unit was awarded the French Croix de Guerre Medal and a French commemorative medal for Operation Overlord. James rose to the rank of sergeant."
That is an impressive list of honors. I think he gives real meaning to the word hero.
World War veterans are leaving us daily. We need to remember all who gave their time, lives and dedication to our military causes, expecting only to return to their daily lives. If you have time, shake the hand of a veteran and try not to weep when you hear of their sacrifices in the name of the country. I did not get the chance to shake James' hand, but he must have been a true American hero.