The Gift of Freedom
Veterans Appreciation Luncheon, Program & Open House
November 10, 2006

We are proud of our Franklin residents who have honorably served our country.
Franklin Community Council, Inc. hosted a luncheon for veterans and their families.  
A program and reception (open to the public) began at 1 pm.

Letter from Senator Sam Brownback

2006 Presidential Proclamation

State Senator Jim Barone speech


The Gift of Freedom

Veterans from Franklin came home for lunch Friday.  A luncheon was hosted for all Franklin veterans and their families and widows of veterans.  What many thought would be a small gathering became overflowing with patriotism.  Over 100 people attended the event.  

 After a luncheon prepared by the ladies of Franklin and Gebhardt’s Chicken Dinners a program and reception was held.   Anton “Tony” Zemlock and ChesterClark” Fikes posted the colors. Tony and Clark were both former POWs of WWII.    Corporal Anton “Tony” Zemlock served in the US Army from 1942-1945 and was captured in Battle of Bulge. He was a member of the 707th Tank Battalion.  He received 4 bronze stars and was in the European Theater of Operations in France, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.  ChesterClark Fikes served in the US Army during WWII and was a former POW.  He received the Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal   (04/27/1944 - May 3, 1945)   France , Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal with oak Clusters (3); Purple Heart; POW Medal; Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; WWII Victory Medal; Army Occupation Medal; Berlin Airlift Medal and the American Defense Service Medal.

Major General Joe Scepansky, former Franklin resident, returned from Texas to visit with his comrades and schoolmates.  He led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and gave the invocation. 

The 2006 Presidential Proclamation was read by Henry Ashbacher, Vice President of Franklin Community Council.   The proclamation reminded everyone that:  “All of America's veterans have placed our Nation's security before their own lives, creating a debt that we can never fully repay. Our veterans represent the best of America, and they deserve the best America can give them. I hereby proclaim November 11, 2006, as Veterans Day and urge all Americans to observe November 5 through November 11, 2006, as National Veterans Awareness Week. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through ceremonies and prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to support and participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I invite civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, businesses, unions, and the media to support this national observance with commemorative expressions and programs. “

State Senator Jim Barone and his wife Donita were in attendance. The Senator spoke of his ties to Franklin and read an essay composed by his 11 year old grandson that spoke of his thoughts on freedom. 

The American Legion Riders/Patriot Guard gave everyone great pride as they arrived on their motorcycles with flags flying proudly. Bob Peternell, Director, spoke of their organization and its beginning.  Bob spoke of one of the early funerals they attended in which picketers walked on the flag, blew their noses on the flag and made vulgar remarks to the grieving families.   This organization is one of the fastest growing organizations in the country and is spreading nationally.

Lori Pommier, Northeast Elementary Vocal Music Teacher and her 4th grade class brought a huge round of applause for their performance of military selections.  Approximately 50 students treated the guests to songs such as When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Stars and Stripes Forever and others.  The children’s commentary between songs was very entertaining.

Chuck Ales, Immediate Past Commander and Chaplain of American Legion Post 182, Arma, and WWII Veteran spoke of his gratitude to all veterans.  His own family produced 7 veterans.  His sister Anne a WWII veteran, served in the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) in the 440th Air Force Base Unit.  Anne returned from New Mexico to be a part of the celebration.   His brother Frank who is a World War II veteran of the Army and several other family members were in attendance.    Chuck read the names of five Franklin residents who gave the ultimate sacrifice and had been killed in action.  As each name was read a bell was rung by Sandy Hamblin. 

Ray Hamblin, Director of Franklin Community Council, Inc. was master of ceremonies of the event.  He pointed out that there were many reasons to be thankful and the reason for those freedoms were sitting right there in the room.   He said these veterans have fought for our right to enjoy celebrations such as today.   He thanked Chuck Ales and Robert Brunch for donating a beautiful set of flags which will be used in the hall.  Those flags will be a constant reminder of the sacrifices made by the many veterans who served this country. 

 Ray also read a letter sent by Senator Sam Brownback in which he stated he was impressed with the Spirit of Franklin and asked God’s blessings on all their endeavors and future prosperity.  Senator Brownback also had an American flag flown over the Capitol in honor of the veterans and presented the flag to the community for their use. 

Veterans were invited to attend the Centennial Celebration June 23-24, 2007 where a Veterans Area will be set up. All veterans of Crawford County will be welcome to set up displays and gather in this tent area.  

Following the program guests spent the afternoon visiting with old friends and enjoying photos.   The ladies of Franklin provided punch and cookies. 

Getting Ready

Patriot Guard Arriving

Lunch is Served

Lori Pommier's 4th Grade Class Arriving

Preparing to Sing

Posting of Colors

Robert Luth video taping event

KOAM-TV coverage of event

Lori Pommier's 4th Grade Class

Henry Ashbacher reading
2006 Presidential Proclamation

State Senator Jim Barone

Bob Peternell, Patriot Guard

Chuck Ales, Immediate Past Commander and Chaplain, American Legion Post 182

Ringing of bell by Sandy Hamblin as names are read of Veterans Killed in Action

Door Prize Drawing


Retiring Colors

Cleaning Up

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