Saluting our veterans: Christmas Island Style honors servicemen and women at annual tribute

The Christmas Island Style’s Salute to Veterans was held Tuesday at Marco Charter Middle School in honor of those who served in years past and those currently serving. With retired Lt. Col. Bill Howey of the United States Marine Corp as the featured speaker, those who attended seemed to listen with the utmost attention.

“This evening I have been asked to speak about Dec. 7, as well as present a tribute to all of our servicemen and women,” Lt. Col. Howey told the audience. “This is the easiest task I’ve ever been given.”

With 32 years of service and three tours in Vietnam to his name, Lt. Col. Howey spoke in a strong, steady voice, elaborating on the bonds of service, expressing his pride in the American military and giving thanks to the veterans who were there.

“To everyone still living from (the greatest generation), we salute you,” he said. “To your brethren who went before you, we remember and honor them as well.”

Breaking his emotional speech only once, Lt. Col. Howey took a moment before describing the sacrifice those who don the military uniform must endure.

“Each and every time, it is America’s youth that steps up and signs that check that is made out to the America people in the sum of everything,” he said. “Up to, and including, my life.”

After his speech, three World War II veterans stood to a loud applause, and veterans of other wars, ranging from the Korean to Vietnam, stood as well.

The Marco Charter Middle School band performed six songs after Lt. Col. Howey’s speech, all takes on Christmas tunes, highlighting some of the band’s talents with many solos throughout the performance.

Last, but certainly not least, Marco Island resident, architect and veteran Herb Savage, and his wife, Emily, led the crowd in an enthusiastic version of “God Bless America.”

“He was great,” Savage said of Howey’s speech. “His approach and attitude is tremendous.”

For the children who were in attendance, Steve Stefanides, chairman of Christmas Island Style, which sponsored the event, hoped that they would understand from Lt. Col. Howey’s speech that freedom comes with a price.

“A lot of people came before them for all of our freedoms,” he said.

As Lt. Col. Howey began to leave, a small woman came up to thank him for his service, giving a handshake and a slight bow before saying goodbye. Rajani Thangavelu, an almost 30-year employee at the Veterans Hospital in Naples, said she came out to give her salute to veterans.

“War was, and is, so painful, no mater how you look at it,” she said. “The veterans have all given up an important part of life to serve,” she said.

© 2010 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 4

RayPray writes:

Maybe my memory is failing...?

But didn't we just do this 3 weeks back?

How many times a year -- and for how many years -- do these decrepit old fools get to be wheeled out in order to inflict their tedious, unsubstantiated, and ever more filigreed tales of ancient derring-do on our innocent Marco school kids?

Even at this ostensibly prince of peace Xmas tree lighting ceremony!!!

Are you not fed up with such unstoppable unverified jingoistic bloviation?

The VFW is shaking the Styrofoam cup at our city council for tens of thousands of taxpayer $$$ for a pile a rocks to flatter its vanity.

Now, just another bunch of cringing welfare tax-eaters.

When will there be enough hearse-osculation for all these irksome sclerotic blowhards?

smiley writes:

in response to Klabautermann:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Klabberman, don't pay any attention to the cowardly traitor. He's shown his colors here before, they are yellow. He probably spent the late 60's in Canada.

happy6 writes:

the canadians live under the Wings of the American Eagle...and spend their time "jumping the line" for healthcare and everything else.

RayPray writes:

"the canadians live under the Wings of the American Eagle...and spend their time "jumping the line" for healthcare and everything else."

"I mean Canada is great. Has a good economy. The Canadian Dollar is much stronger than the US $ and they bring a lot of money to the USA."

>>Canada today is not same whiny nation of Pierre Trudeau.

>>It completely escaped the sub-prime sub-IQ economics the engulfed us here during the melt down of 2008.

>>Its banks are among the best in the world...and a shrewd investment.

>>Its politics has now a strong libertarian character, worth emulation.

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