By Curt Hodges
Saturday’s keynote speaker was U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro. The 1st District representative grew up in a military family and served in the Army as a bomb disposal technician, advancing to the rank of sergeant.
“There’s nothing more important to me than honoring our veterans,” Crawford said. He also wished a happy birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps on its 237th year of service.
Crawford said much has been said of the sacrifices of men and women in the armed services, but he paid specific tribute to the sacrifices of the soldiers’ families — something he had observed firsthand when his father, an Air Force career serviceman, was deployed three times.
“Then we didn’t have Facebook or cell phones to communicate with,” he said. Families had to wait for letters and phone calls.
“If you got a phone call, it was always a tense moment because you never knew what that call would bring,” Crawford said. “Many of you have been in similar situations.”
Crawford issued a call to service, recalling a time when his family was moving from one base to another.
Their furniture and other belongings had been loaded up, but his parents were still cleaning their former home.
“I asked them why they were cleaning and mopping,” he said. His parents reminded him that they wanted to “leave it better than they found it.”
“We owe it to the next generation to leave our country better than we found it,” he said.
Special recognition was given to World War II Army veteran Albert Richardson, who was badly wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.
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