CLEARFIELD – A Veterans Day ceremony to honor those who served in the U.S. military was held Monday on the front lawn of the Clearfield American Legion John Lewis Shade Post No. 6.
The first speaker was Betina Nicklas, Veterans Affairs director and staff sergeant in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. She’s also the daughter of a retired Vietnam War veteran and a wife of a U.S. Marine.
As she sat down to ponder her speech Sunday night, Nicklas recalled a patriotic veteran tribute video – “Reveille” – that’s set in a small, retirement community where an older gentleman honors the U.S. flag every morning.
One day he notices a new neighbor is moving in and proudly displaying a small sign that he’s an Army soldier. “He walks back inside and places his Navy sign in his window. And so, it begins – the battle of the branches,” Nicklas said.
As the two men continue to pay their daily respects to the flag, their playful feud begins to escalate. One day, the soldier comes outside with several of his medals pinned upon his chest. This disgusts the sailor.
The next day, the sailor comes outside and not only proudly shows off his medals, but also his Purple Heart. After some time passes, both men come outside one day in full “dress blues and greens” before the flag in a salute.
Until one morning, the sailor finds himself standing alone; he waits for his soldier friend to come outside. But he never does. He bends down, picks up his newspaper and reads that his friend has passed away.
He wavers for a moment before raising and saluting the flag, and then turning toward the soldier’s apartment and saluting his friend.
“As veterans, we tease and we taunt – relentlessly,” Nicklas said, “but in the end, we have a bond with and respect for each other.”
The second speaker was Ed Hullihen, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter No. 974 president. He said Clearfield’s VVA planned to downsize its organization and its truck will soon be retired to the Grice Museum.
Also, he announced that its Vietnam Memorial will be dedicated at 11 a.m. Nov. 23 at the Clearfield Riverwalk. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Hullihen thanked those who attended Monday’s ceremony and also asked them to please thank veterans for their service. “Then, give them a handshake and a hug because it really means a lot,” he said.
Both the invocation and benediction were given by Burt Henchbarger, post chaplain. Opening and closing remarks were given by Mark Crispell, post commander.
The National Anthem and other patriotic musical selections were played by members of the Clearfield Bison Marching Band.
The ceremony also included the “Call to Colors,” a wreath of flowers presentation and a military salute followed by taps.