Speaker: ‘Remember the veterans and never forget’

Gunnery Sgt. Jeff Frank, right, delivers a message on the meaning of Veterans Day to a combined audience of community members, high school and elementary students on Friday at BCLUW High School. Music for the program was presented by the elementary students, the high school chorus and the high school band with Sgt. Frank as guest soloist.

CONRAD – “Today is the day we honor all of the veterans, and we should never forget that veterans were just ordinary people until they answered the call.”

These were the words of Gunnery Sgt. Jeff Frank (ret.) as he delivered the message at the annual Veterans Day program at BCLUW High School sponsored by Conrad American Legion Post 681 and Auxiliary Unit 681.

Frank said that in his 20-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, everywhere he went it was all about love for our country and to the veterans the case of defending our constitution.

“The Marine had a duty to defend and protect the person on his right and on his left.” Frank said.

He related that last year was the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the history of how what was first known as Armistice Day was changed to Veteran’s Day to honor all veterans who have served or are serving.

Frank’s speech also included how on Sept. 11, 2001, he was a member of a unit in Georgia who got the orders to lay down their musical instruments, grab their weapons and get to the gates. “For on that day, America as we knew it had changed,” he said.

He related a story about a Navy Corpsman named Ballard who was honored, and related the fact that to one in the military, “It is harder to wear the medal than to earn it.”

Frank was a military trumpet instrumentalist with the Marine Band San Diego; the Albany Marine Band at Albany, Ga.; The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Band at Twentynine Palms, Calif.; the Quantico Marine Corps Band at Quantico, Va.; and the 2D Marine Aircraft Wing Band at Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, N.C.; and the Marine Corps Band in New Orleans, La.

His career highlights as a musician included playing at President Ronald Reagan’s funeral; a performance at Super bowl XLI and the unique experience of performing “Taps” live on NBC television at the 10th anniversary tribute to 9/11 in New York City.

He concluded his message by saying, “Everyone shares in the responsibility of remembering the veterans and why they fought or are still fighting – to guard and protect our freedom. We often take for granted how easy it is to do the things we do, without remembering we would not have those freedoms if it was not for the veterans.”

He challenged the audience members and students alike by saying, “Each time you see a veteran reach out your hand and be sure to say ‘thank you.'”