Veterans Day is celebrated on Nov. 11. In 1918, at the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a temporary cessation of hostilities was declared between the Allied Nations and German forces.
Since then, 11/11 has become a day both of solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in our country’s service
while also celebrating gratitude for the victory and promise of peace.
This month we meet Dick Kounovsky, Honor Guard Captain, American Legion Post 32, Longmont. Dick, a Korean War Veteran who served in the US Army from 1953 to 1956, tells us about the Honor Guard, how they support our community as the Color Guard, and what Veterans Day means to him.
“My neighbor was a member of American Legion Post 32, and he got me to join in the Honor Guard and I’ve been there ever since — for 20 some years now.” The American Legion exists to support veteran affairs and rehabilitation, national security, Americanism, and children and youth. The Honor Guard performs military honors for any deceased veteran. This includes doing a speech for the veteran, the three-volley rifle fire, sounding of taps, and folding and presenting of the flag.
Many of us have seen these services first-hand. We saw the impact the Honor Guard made as they handed over the folded flag to a grieving spouse, embodying the unyielding support of the entire veteran community they represent. The limited number of members in Longmont mean they also act as the Color Guard. These separate responsibilities include giving flag talks at schools, participating in parades, posting the Colors at events — like our Annual Meeting, and more.
There’s about 26 active members in the Post 32’s Honor Guard. This collaboration is important because, as Dick was quick to point out, “it’s not me and the Honor Guard, it’s we are the Honor Guard.” Each person plays an important role and without them the service would not be complete — the person folding the flag is just as important as the person holding the rifle.
“On this Veterans Day, I hope all Americans pause amidst the barbecues, football games, and yard work to think about the many freedoms we have,” Dick says as our time together drew to a close. “Freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to elect our leaders, freedom of press, freedom of religion — essentially the freedom and independence to live our lives and pursue happiness as we desire.”
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LEGION
American Legion Post 32 in Longmont hosts an annual Veterans Stand Down event on 11/16 to prepare less fortunate comrades for the winter and deliver materials and resources to help get veterans off the street. Financial donations to American Legion Post 32, 315 S. Bowen St., Longmont, CO 80501 will go towards grocery story gift cards given out at the event. Learn more at www.post32.com.