Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veterans Day in Athens: How American Veterans Have Shaped the World

By Amanda Fondriest

How American veterans have shaped the world. It was not just the theme of the floats and banners at the parade: it was also memorialized in the speeches provided at the post-parade ceremony.

Winning Veteran Essay
Emma Caldwell, an Athens Middle School student, read her winning essay at Tuesday's Veterans Day ceremony. Caldwell said that when she thinks of U.S. veterans, "four words come to my mind. These words tell how I feel about these unique individuals: honor, courage, strong, and responsibility". Caldwell then went on to discuss how each of these words described American veterans.

Athens Middle School student Emma Caldwell reads her winning Veterans Day essay.

Caldwell concluded her essay, saying, "I'm proud to be a part of this country. Our veterans are people that I can be proud of. Some of the people I love most of all are veterans, like my grandfather, my dad, and several of my uncles. They are good people."

Veterans Day Address
Ohio University graduate and Athens native Brigadier General Samuel C. (Curt) Heady was asked by city officials to deliver this year's Veterans Day Address, a request he joked many of his former classmates would be surprised by. Heady began his address by saying what Athens means to him. "It's really great to be back in Athens. From this spot, I can see clearly the spot where my dad graduated in 1953, over at Mem. Aud.; the spot--Old Baker Center--where I met my wife; Galbraith Chapel, where we were married; worked part time at Chubb Hall. It's just really good to be home."

In his address, Heady discussed how Veterans Day always brings three images to his mind--the beaches of Normandy, the southern Polish Nazi concentration camps, and a VA hospital room in Washington DC.

Brigadier General Samuel Heady delivers his Veterans Day Address.

During his station in Germany, Heady visited the beaches of Normandy. "We went over Memorial Day weekend 2003, and the day was a little bit warmer than this, but it was overcast and there was a rain and it was just gloomy. And I couldn't help but think that it was appropriate weather for our visit there. Words cannot convey what it's like to visit those areas where US and Canadian and British forces began to take back Europe from the Axis powers in 1944."

On a War College trip in 1998, Heady toured the concentration camps in southern Poland, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. "Save the death of members of my family, I don't think I have ever been as moved emotionally as I was going through the concentration camps. And one cannot help but have an overwhelming sense of being grateful and thankful to the veterans for sacrificing to the extent they did to make that liberation possible."

And finally during a community service project, he met an elderly man named John who had lost all feeling from the neck down from Multiple Sclerosis contracted most likely from war life. Heady said he never heard the man complain and he remained a patriot until his death in 2006. "Regardless of whether there's public support or not, veterans give their all for us. And it's important that we recognize them on days such as today, but its also important to realize that there are a lot of veterans out there--like John--who deserve our support day in and day out."

Athens MidDay reporter Shana O'Malley reported on the Veterans Day festivities November 12, 2008.

Heady's Biography
From the Veterans Day Program
Brigadier General Samuel C. Heady was appointed Director of Support, Headquarters, Ohio Air National Guard, Beightler Armory, Columbus, Ohio, on 17 September 2007. In that capacity, he assists in coordinating, policy, guidance, and strategic planning of the 5,000 plus member Ohio Air National Guard and its four flying wings and four geographically separated units.

General Heady's career in the Ohio Air Guard began in 1971 -- upon graduation from Ohio University -- when he enlisted with the 121st Tactical Fighter Wing as a weapons loader. He served 10 years in the enlisted ranks and attained the rank of Technical Sergeant. He received a direct commission to First Lieutenant in 1981 and served in a variety of maintenance officer assignments with the 121st until 1993.

For the next 14 years and until his present assignment, he served in the Air National Guard's full-time statutory tour program. His assignments included Commandment, Academy of Military Science at the ANG's Professional Military Education Center; Chief of Training at the National Guard Bureau's National Interagency Civil-Military Institute at San Luis Obispo, CA; Special Assistant for the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review for the Assistant to the Chairman, Joint chiefs of Staff for National Guard Affairs; State Partnership Program Coordinator and Political-Military Affairs Officer for the Policy and Plans Directorate, Headquarters, US European Command at Stuttgart, Germany; and Senior Military Planner for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense.

General Heady is a 1967 graduate of Athens High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism, a Master of Science Degree in Journalism, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration, all from Ohio University. He is an in-resident graduate of Air Command and Staff College, Air War College, and the US State Department's Senior Seminar.

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