Dec. 7, 1941, a date that has lived on in infamy, is what propelled the United States into World War II, and that date is memorialized in the form of Pearl Harbor Day.
In honor of that infamous date, the National Veterans Flagpoles United presented nine veterans with tokens of appreciation on Wednesday at Greenbrier Village.
The veterans were presented with a commemorative token, as well as metal American flags to thank them for their service in the name of our country. NVFU President Cale Grauberger told the veterans that although they come from differing backgrounds, their oath to defend the U.S. is what makes them peers with one another.
“It is our honor to be able to present you veterans a very special token of appreciation to honor your service to our great country,” Grauberger said. “We have a wide variety of veterans here. They are all from different backgrounds, different jobs, but they all have one thing in common … they served under this flag. You guys are the reason I look at this flag every day. It’s because of you guys we have our freedoms that we have today.”
The veterans who were given the flags and thanked for their service served in wars ranging from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, all residents of Greenbrier.
Those honored were: Arnold Schweer, 104, who served in World War II, joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942, and was stationed in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska; James Moncrief, who joined the Alabama National Guard in 1949 and served on the hospital board; Eldon Weber, who was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Northern Japan in an anti-aircraft battery; Arthur “Bois” Farrington, who enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1949, and was stationed in Hawaii, Africa, Germany, Alaska and Wake Island in a career that spanned more than 26 years; Fred Kaupke, who enlisted in 1954, got his commission from Oklahoma State University and served in Texas where he was in charge of budgeting and finance; Charles “Martin” Carl, who was drafted into the Army in 1951 and was stationed in Alaska before returning to Enid and working at Champlin Refinery for more than 30 years; Herbert Felder, who joined the Air Force in 1956, was stationed in Roswell, N.M., for four years and served in New Hampshire for four years starting in 1960; Richard Folger, who volunteered to be drafted and joined in 1957; and David Landwehr, who was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963, was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and then served in the National Guard when he returned stateside.
The veterans all were given their tokens of appreciation, and were each individually thanked by members of NVFU who were present. Richard Riggins, veteran outreach coordinator, said the time spent getting to thank the veterans is what makes it special.
“For me, it’s emotional. Thinking about what those guys may have gone through during their service,” Riggins said. “Like Cale (Grauberger) said, it’s the greatest generation, and there’s not many of those guys left. For us to be able to honor a 104-year-old veteran, WWII veterans, Korean War veterans, Vietnam veterans … they don’t get enough recognition for what they’ve done for this country. They exemplify selfless service.”
NVFU is a nonprofit organization that pays tribute to veterans by erecting a flag pole at the veteran’s home, which provides the veterans with something they can take tremendous pride in. There have been people in multiple states who have reached out to NVFU to try and get a chapter started in those locations. Riggins said none of it is possible without the strong support received from the Enid community.
“My heart gets big, and it makes me feel good that our organization is expanding,” Riggins said. “We’re trying to get it to expand. We can do a lot through Zoom, through text messaging, but it’s one thing to talk about it, but it’s another thing to go out and do it. Here in the Enid area, we have a lot of community involvement with our supporters. They really support us on our mission to go out and find these veterans and stand up flagpoles for them.”
Veterans who receive flagpoles are nominated. In order to nominate a veteran to receive a flagpole, go to the National Veterans Flagpoles United Facebook page, under Intro, click on the form and it will open a tab to enter the information for the nomination.
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