Veterans past and present honored at IVH

Against a backdrop of the rousing “America the Beautiful” and “Stars and Stripes Forever” performed by the Marshalltown Municipal Band, the annual Veterans Day ceremony was held at the Iowa Veterans Home Malloy Leisure Resource Center before a standing room only crowd of several hundred Monday.

IVH is one of the largest veterans homes in the United States and many of the 600 veterans and spouses who call it home were present with family and friends. Joining them were many of the facility’s 900 staff.

Among those present was Jack Dack, of Marshalltown and former commandant. He was accompanied by his spouse, Twyla. Dack, who served as commandant 33 years, received a hearty and prolonged applause from the audience after being recognized by emcee and current IVH Commandant Jodi Tymeson.

Angela Doty, IVH chaplain, opened the program with an invocation, calling on God “to bless each and every veteran throughout this land, especially those at the Iowa Veterans Home that gave of themselves.”

Tymeson, who was promoted to commandant less than one month ago, also gave the keynote address, as retired Major Sean T. Quinlan USMC of Des Moines, the scheduled speaker, had been delayed at a previous engagement and did not arrive until later.

In her remarks, Tymeson fittingly touched on Veterans Day history. She said it was initially called Armistice Day to honor only servicemen living or dead from World War I.

President Woodrow Wilson established it Nov. 11, 1919, exactly one year after a cease fire had ended hostilities in that “war to end all wars.”

President Dwight D. Eishenhower signed a proclamation in 1954 renaming it Veterans Day, to honor all veterans, living and dead in whatever war, or period of peace they served.

“On this day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought valiantly, on the sea, in the air and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage and our freedoms,” Eisenhower had said.

Tymeson, a veteran and a native Iowan, engaged the audience early on, acknowledging her family’s extensive military history from the Revolutionary War to present. She spoke of the many acts of heroism throughout our country’s history exhibited by airmen, marines, soldiers and sailors.

She cited the exemplary contributions of several Iowans in conflicts ranging from the Civil War to the War on Terror.

Tymeson also cited the many employees and volunteers who serve veterans at IVH.

“We at the Iowa Veterans Home are dedicated to serving the needs of veterans and their spouses in long term care,” she said. “Iowans should be proud of the quality of care given to veterans at the Iowa Veterans Home.”

“We enjoy the many freedoms we have today because of the unselfish sacrifices by veterans throughout our nation’s history,” Tymeson said. “May you all cherish your freedoms and never take it for granted. And Godspeed to our military men and women still serving in harm’s way today.”

The IVH Choir, under the direction of Kim Anderson, sang “God Bless America” to end the program.

Velma Mason, a resident, whose husband was a veteran, said she was pleased with the program and remarks by Tymeson

“I loved it,” said John Finical, a resident.

Finical is a Vietnam veteran who served from 1964-67 and saw combat.

“It was really touching when the band played and all of the veterans stood up,” said John’s spouse, Karen Finical.