County commissioners mark Veterans Day with poem

Navy Veteran and Josephine County Commissioner Dan DeYoung concluded the Board of County Commissioners’ Wednesday, Nov. 8 weekly business session, which was held at Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass, by reading a poem in honor of Veterans Day. This poem was supplied to the board by meeting frequenter Judy Ahrens.
“It’s my honor to read this,” DeYoung prefaced before beginning his rendition:

-It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press,
-It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech,
-It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble,
-It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial,
-It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote,
-It is the veteran who salutes the flag.

The city’s Public Works Dept. worked hard to build the Veterans Plaza and the stonework on the plaques at Jubilee Park was done by the E Clampus Vitus. (Photo by Laura Mancuo for the Illinois Valley News)

An internet search revealed that there are conflicting reports regarding who originally authored this poem, with some sources crediting Father Denis Edward O’Brien, while others posit that U.S. Army Veteran Charles M. Province conceived the work. The American Legion website claims the poem was written by “Sarah Palin’s uncle.”
The commissioners slammed those they believe do not show an appropriate amount of respect for America’s veterans, expressing ire in particular toward individuals who kneel or refuse to stand for the National Anthem.
“As a veteran it just galls me when I see somebody want to disrespect the flag or disrespect our country,” DeYoung said. “Along with the freedom to be here in this great country of ours that we hope can be great again sometime, along with your ability to be here is your ability to leave. And I really don’t see a whole hell of a lot of people throwing up their hands and walking out of America to go live in Palestine or Mexico or anywhere else. So, you know, I think that we have the makings of a good country again. We just have to stand up for those makings and what made us great in the first place.”
DeYoung went on to speak directly to anyone who shuns the National Anthem or Star Spangled Banner: “Show respect for the land that allows you to stand up and say whatever the hell you want. And if you don’t respect that, then you shouldn’t be able to stand up and say whatever the heck you want. So just think about that for a while.”

The 173rd Fighter Wing from Kingsley Field flyover for the Veterans Plaza Ceremony Saturday, Nov. 11.
(Photo by Tim Mondragon for the Illinois Valley News)

Other than the discourse over national pride, the Nov. 8 meeting was uneventful, with the only administrative action being the acceptance of the sheriff’s return of sale for a sheriff’s auction held Nov. 1.
Four properties were up for auction, but only one received a bid, which was $207,501. The proceeds from this sale will go to the county’s Property Management Fund.
Last Wednesday’s meeting was adjourned in less than 15 minutes.
The board meets this morning at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium, where they face a similarly short list of matters to address. It is expected that the Wednesday, Nov. 22 meeting will be canceled due to its proximity to the Thanksgiving holiday.