MARSHALL - On a cool Saturday morning on the free stage at the Lyon County Fair, the American Legion Post 113 Honor Guard presented the colors while those present stood for the playing of the National Anthem
Saturday was Veteran's Day at the fair with a short program and a tribute to veterans by singer Sherwin Linton.
Taking the stage first was Jeff Gay, specialist for the Minnesota Military Family Assistance Center and Marshall American Legion commander. Before he introduced the main speaker, Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Reisdorfer, in place of John Feda, Gay stressed the importance of being a Legionnaire or a member of VFW.
"They each stand for the same things, Americanism and veterans," he said.
Gay said the program wasn't too formal but like a down-home town hall meeting.
Reisdorfer, of the Arco area, said he's been in the military for 19 years. He's also been deployed twice. Coming to the veterans program Saturday morning, he wasn't too sure at first what he was going to talk about.
"The Lord blessed me with the gift of gab, and I have to have something to gab about," he said.
He turned to his 10-year-old daughter to see what he could present. Reisdorfer said his daughter told him that she once thought that Veteran's Day had to do with veterinarians.
Reisdorfer appreciated the input from his daughter, and he said one word came to mind when thinking about veterans and Veteran's Day - experience.
"Whether their experience was a year or two or 20 or 30, it was their experience," Reisdorfer said.
Reisdorfer talked about the "little freedoms" that we have as Americans.
"As vets, we had our little freedoms taken away," he said. Just going to get a soda was a little freedom, he said.
Reisdorfer said his last tour was for a year and a half. Little things like powdered drinks and ice can be little freedoms.
"I think sometimes we're getting caught up in our freedoms," he said.
Earlier that weekend, Reisdorfer said his family was camping with grandma and grandpa and realized they were safe.
"I've been in areas where little girls don't have freedoms," he said.
Reisdorfer also recalled the time flying into Maine. Members of the local VFW and veteran's club were there at 4 a.m. to greet the soldiers getting off the plane.
"They woke up (at 3 a.m.) to say hello to me," he said. You can't give enough gratitude to those helping to greet him, Reisdorfer said.
Every time you go and enjoy those little freedoms, Reisdorfer said to remember one thing.
"There are a lot of people there who fought to enjoy the freedoms," he said.
Gay said programs, such as the Legion and the VFW, try to do what they can for the children, like teaching flag etiquette or the importance of the Pledge of Allegiance.
"This has all been given to them because of struggling," Gay said. "(It's something as vets we have to keep strong."
Gay said we have to keep in mind our vets and those who have served.
"It takes a community to say thanks," he said.