Event offers veterans the thanks they deserve every day
Some held their hands over their hearts.
Louis “Rusty” Goecks, 62, wiped away the tears that gently rolled down his cheeks.
“We owe them a debt of gratitude for what they’ve done, what they’ve been through,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a one-time thing. It should be always.”
Dozens of people braved a blustery Saturday afternoon to honor veterans at the first-ever Veterans United for Veterans event sponsored by Kutter Harley-Davidson/Buell.
The event was designed to give people an opportunity to thank veterans for their service, said Lucy Anderson, advertising manager and events director at Kutter.
Goecks, commander of the Janesville chapter of Disabled American Veterans, said it was something people should do more often.
“Sadly, today, too many people forget to think about veterans on Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day—every day,” he said.
“They’re too busy thinking about themselves.”
Goecks served in the Air Force for 20 years, including a tour of duty during the Vietnam War—a time when the country was so bitterly divided that soldiers who returned home often were not welcomed with open arms.
He said although the men and women currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq experience a drastically different homecoming than he and his comrades, there still is a need to draw attention to the importance of veterans’ service.
“A lot of people don’t think about it,” he said. “And so when it happens, it catches you off guard. You don’t expect it.”
Goecks hopes more people will remember to thank veterans as a result of events such as this.
“Maybe it will make … those who haven’t been there and done that think more about it, and maybe then they can have a little more of an understanding of what we’ve gone through,” he said.
Anderson said after the event Saturday that Veterans United for Veterans accomplished its mission.“They appreciated us showing our appreciation,” she said.
TO GET INVOLVED
Veterans, veterans groups and other people who are interested in being a part of the 2009 Veterans United for Veterans event should contact Lucy Anderson, advertising manager and events director at Kutter Harley-Davidson/Buell in Janesville at (608) 757-0880.