Fort McCoy News Nov. 25, 2016

Governor thanks veterans at post observance

Public Affairs Office

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker thanked veterans for their service to the country, both during and after their military careers, as part of the Veterans Day Prayer Luncheon Nov. 10 at McCoy's Community Center.

Walker accepted the post's invitation to attend the annual event and shared a special message with the large audience in attendance.

The event's featured guest speaker was retired Chaplain (Col.) John Stake (see article). Music was played by Fort McCoy community members and prayers were offered for the nation, world, and leaders by local clergy members.

Walker said he was glad the program included "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" because it reminded him of a story he wanted to share.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to a crowd during the Fort McCoy Veterans Day Prayer Luncheon Nov. 10.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to a crowd during the Fort McCoy
Veterans Day Prayer Luncheon Nov. 10.
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol

He said that as a child, he lived a short distance from Claire Congdon, a veteran of World War I and World War II. Congdon sometimes would conduct the church orchestra, and one of the pieces he particularly enjoyed was "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

"I can still remember playing the snares, and he thought it was so cool to have a snare drum playing that march, that cadence during the battle hymn," Walker said.

Congdon also was active in his local American Legion post and the Boy Scouts of America, serving as assistant scout master.
"Mr. Congdon was the one who always made sure that scouts put a flag on every grave of every veteran," Walker said. "On Memorial Day, Veterans Day, the Fourth of July, and just about any other holiday he could think of, we were out there putting flags on the graves.

"Mr. Congdon, like so many other veterans here and across the state — and across the country — first and foremost served his country, but he continued to serve his community in other ways in all the years since," Walker said.

Walker said he wanted to thank both active service members and veterans not only for their military service but also for their continuing service to the country.

"We say thank you, not just for your service, but we say thank you for the right to … freedom because it doesn't happen without you and those who have come before you and those who will carry on that tradition going forward," Walker said.

Veterans Day events are a way to recognize service members for everything they've done and continue to do for the country, he said. "Thank you for continuing to serve."

Nevin Neuville, an Army veteran who volunteers at Fort McCoy, said he enjoyed the presentation. "I liked all the prayers and our governor, all his life history. It was a very good program," Neuville said.