St. Michael Community Hears Veterans' Stories
A Veterans Day event to honor and remember veterans took place Sunday.
After his tour as a marine during the Vietnam War, Chris Sauro went to a dumpster and threw away his military uniform.
The author of "Twins Platoon: An Epic Story of Young Marines at War in Vietnam," shared the reason he did this with the St. Michael community Sunday evening at a Veterans Day celebration.
"I did it because I did not feel my military service was appreciated," he said.
Before Vietnam, he and other marines were encouraged to wear their uniforms off base. Afterward, they were encouraged not to, and were told to grow their hair out longer "so we wouldn’t stand out," Sauro said.
If it wasn’t for the way his colleagues in college spoke of the service, and the perception of veterans in those days, he would still have his uniform, he said as he spoke of the importance of appreciating the service of veterans and thanking them for it.
In an event put on by St. Michael’s American Legion Post 567, stories of service were shared, and veterans who have died were remembered. Through songs, prayers, poems and speeches, veterans were honored at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West auditorium.
Eric Kloss, commander of Post 567, said to the community that fewer than 10 percent of Americans can claim the title "veteran." But this group of people has made the United States "the greatest nation on Earth," he said.
"We must ask ourselves, are we as a nation serving veterans half as well as they are serving us?" Kloss said to a crowd of veterans, supporters, St. Michael-Albertville students, and other community members.
The color guard presented the colors of the flag and the St. Michael-Albertville High School Chamber Choir sang at the event.
St. Michael-Albertville High School student Cody Goodchild shared the story of his grandfather Bill, a veteran of World War II. He said his grandfather watched the Nazis use Jewish infants for target practice.
He added that this is an example of how veterans paid a hefty price for their country.
"I learned about the horrors of World War II through the lens of Bill," Goodchild said. "There is no higher duty to be called to than to defend the liberty we've been blessed with."
St. Michael resident Ed Rogalski shared his experience of rollerblading from Duluth to St. Michael last summer to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Next summer, he plans to inline skate, stand-up paddle board, or run to raise more funds for the project.
"It's about something other than me — it's about the veterans," Rogalski said. "What moves me is that I don’t want them to be forgotten. I don’t want any veteran to feel like they’ve been forgotten."