Congresswoman Letlow honors service and selflessness at Veterans Day event – Grambling State News
Grambling, Louisiana – November 11, 2022 – Honor was the theme of the day as Julia Letlow, U.S. Congresswoman from Louisiana’s 5th District, served as the keynote speaker for the fourth annual Veterans Day Appreciation Program at Grambling State University.
Opening his speech, Letlow seemed to address the veterans who were in the audience directly.
“As our country celebrates this Veterans Day, we are filled with gratitude and pause to acknowledge, reflect and remember the service and sacrifice of so many of our countless American heroes,” Letlow said as he opened his speech. “It is because of your bravery that we can enjoy our basic freedoms as Americans. Our veterans are those who fought against the forces of tyranny and oppression and always kept the fire of freedom burning.
“Every day as I walk the halls of the Capitol in Washington DC, I am reminded that I only have this opportunity and this privilege to serve because you have served. The American Dream and the ideas of freedom and the pursuit of Happiness lives on thanks to you, our veterans, these courageous men and women who protected our country from those who wanted to deprive us of these freedoms.
“As anyone who knows our history will tell you, it is communities such as Grambling, Ruston, Simsboro and Calhoun that produce selfless soldiers who have won battles in distant places like Nonmany, Okinawa, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.”
“After World War II ended, Dwight D. Eisenhower was asked why our troops won that war. He said guns, tanks and planes are nothing if there is not a strong mind, a strong heart and great productivity behind it all. We know that so many soldiers, as veterans, have come to their homeland, used the same spirit, heart and productivity to serve our communities long after they have taken off their uniforms.
Letlow said veterans have found countless ways to give back to their communities.
She then opened up about her late husband, Luke Letlow’s late grandfather, Richard.
“As we liked to call him, ‘Daddy Dick’ served in World War II,” Letlow said. “He was the one who instilled a strong sense of patriotism and love of country in my late husband Luke, helping to put him on the path to public service.”
“I am so grateful to ‘Papa Dick’ for teaching many valuable values that made him the wonderful man I married, the amazing father of our children, and the dedicated public servant who worked every day to make this region better. ”
Letlow went on to say that she knows veterans have not only impacted her life, but the life of every American.
“I know every American has a similar story, thanks to all of you in this same room,” Letlow said. “You are the leaders. You are the ones who not only protected the precious gifts of freedom and freedom for my generation and my children’s generation, but you also came home and built the communities we call home today.
“We cannot thank you enough for all you have given to our country, our state and our nation. That’s why we fight to improve the health care and benefits you receive. That’s why we have ceremonies like these and that’s why we have memorials to our soldiers in our nation’s capital. There is no tribute big enough to do justice to all you have done for us.
Beginning to slow down her speech, she mentioned what is called America’s “greatest generation” – those who returned to or fought in World War II.
“They were the ones who taught us how to lead,” Letlow said. “They taught us to serve. And they taught us that our country will always stand up for what is right.
“Now that torch has been passed to my generation, and we must ensure that the flame of freedom never goes out. It is up to us to preserve it, to protect it and to cherish it. …I hope decades from now we will have answered the call to serve as many of you and made the nation you fought for a much better place.
GSU President Rick Gallot presented Letlow with a plaque of appreciation after his speech.
Master of Ceremonies Greg Ludley, LaVetCorps Navigator and Director of the GSU Veterans Resource Center, also introduced retired Air Force Lt. Col. Ewing Collier, longtime commander of the Grambling American Legion Post 593, with an honorary plaque for “service to country and continued service to community” from Top Ladies of Distinction, a national professional and humanitarian organization.
The GSU choir performed “America the Beautiful” and “Striving After God” as part of the program which also included Veterans Recognition and a Moment of Silence for Fallen Service Members as well as a Tribute to Our Fallen Soldiers painting. combat/POW by the GSU Tiger Battalion ROTC and a Flag Unfurling Ceremony by Paradise Funeral Home of Arcadia.