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Former POW speaks at IVH ceremony

Crowd gathers at Veterans Day event

November 12, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

If someone wanted to point to the importance of our veterans, they just need to look at what happened in voting booths across the country last week. The right to vote is just one of the many freedoms provided by veterans, said Iowa Veterans Home Commandant David Worley during the Veterans Day program Sunday at the facility.

He said the 22 million veterans living in this United States need to be thanked for their effort often.

"I think we are blessed to live in this country," Worley said.

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Retired U.S. Navy Commander Larry Spencer was the featured speaker Sunday during the Veterans Day ceremony at the Iowa Veterans Home.

Worley asked all the veterans in the jam-packed Malloy Leisure Resource Center to either stand or raise their hand.

"Thank you for what you've done for our country," Worley said to them. "We truly appreciate it."

Worley introduced United States Navy Commander Larry Spencer as the featured speaker of the event. Spencer, who grew up in Earlham, Iowa, was shot down in 1966 and endured seven years as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam.

Spencer said while as a prisoner, he had no control of when he ate or when he was let outside and the only thing he could control was his own mindset.

"All you could control was how you dealt with it," Spencer said. "So it becomes kind of a mental game."

He compared his experience in Vietnam to the challenges presented in life. He said life is not a straight line and there are bad things that happen out of our control. He said the outlook people have can go a long way to making them feel better in any situation.

"We have the opportunity, to an amazing degree, to control our happiness," Spencer said.

He said many people look back at their time in the military as one of the greatest times in their lives, which he indicated could have been a result of the bonds formed. He said most civilians are never able to be a part of something where a group of people are dedicated to getting the job done 24 hours a day.

"But when you're in a military unit, that's pretty much the way it goes," Spencer said.

The IVH event also featured the traditional patriotic music from the Marshalltown Municipal Band and the IVH Choir.



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