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All Made Possible by the American Soldier

A Webb Weekly salute to our servicemen and women that gave all to provide our precious freedom. From the Revolutionary War to our current global conflicts and War on Terror, the way of life we know as Americans has been paid for by the blood of those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

A heartfelt thank you to the families of those that have an empty seat at the picnic table. Many Americans don’t understand that when a son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister are serving our Great Nation, the whole family is really enlisted. To be part of a military family is to truly understand the commitment and sometimes sacrifice necessary to provide liberty for all.

We need to recognize, honor, and remember all our military personnel. But on this special holiday that kicks off summer, say a special prayer for those that didn’t make it home for summertime in America, which is truly a daily celebration of everything that’s right about the United States of America.

The Lycoming County’s Veteran’s Memorial Park is a tribute to our fallen soldiers from Lycoming County and beyond. Please take a minute over the Memorial Day weekend to stop by, look around, and pay tribute. A lot of good folks from our area have contributed to this special place. It also provides an opportunity to teach our younger people about the history of our great Nation. One important aspect of this is the ability to put local names on soldiers that died in action. That war is not as seen on TV. The reality of war is everyday people, from every walk of life die to provide the life enjoyed here at home.

The World War I Monument has 131 names of Lycoming County residents who died during this war. The World War II monument house is inscribed with 415 names of County soldiers that didn’t make the trip home, 175 are residents of Williamsport. The Korean War Monument memorializes 60 Lycoming County residents. The Vietnam War Monument honors 43 Lycoming County soldiers who lost their lives and service to our Country. The latest Memorial honoring Lycoming County’s Heroes is the Global Conflict for Peace and Freedom Remembrance. The most recent name added is Master Sergeant Sean M. Thomas, who gave his life in Iraq in 2007.

It is very moving for me to read through all the names on the monuments. I recognize many of the surnames. It makes you think about how they fit into their family history and what void was left after they were lost.

Our Nation has called on our military 226 years out of the 243 years of existence since declaring our Independence in 1776. An American Soldier is considered a Casualty of War if they have lost their life due to wounds, injury, sickness, internment, capture or by being declared missing in action during wartime.

In our Country’s first hundred years, our military suffered an estimated 683,000 casualties. The Civil War claimed 623,000 of these American lives.

The second hundred years of our Nation’s history, which took us to the bicentennial in 1976, resulted in an estimated 626,000 American casualties. World War II saw the loss of almost 410,000 military personnel or 65% of this number.

From 1976 to the present close to 8,000 American service personnel have lost their lives defending our freedom. Obviously most occurred post 9/11 and as our War on Terror is being fought each and every day around the world.

As you’re enjoying your Memorial Day weekend of all American events, please take some time to reflect on what makes it all possible. It begins and ends with the American Soldier and those willing to sacrifice everything so we can enjoy that cookout, ballgame or camping trip. The simplest everyday taken-for-granted actions are only provided for us by having the strongest and best-trained military in the world.

To celebrate everything that is summer in the West Branch Valley, please register to win in our Webb Weekly Great American Cookout Contest. The entry form and information can be found directly below. I am proud to be teaming with Gary at Lycoming Lawn and Garden, Carl at Tony’s Deli, Mikey Rupert at Rupert’s Specialty Meats and my longtime friend Chet Ruth at Frosty Beverage.

Our Great American Cookout package includes the Freedom Grill by Holland. Made in America, it’s one of the top quality grills, guaranteed to provide perfect BBQ. Gary will even provide taste testing to make sure you’re doing everything just right.

Tony’s Deli and Rupert’s Specialty Meats will provide you the perfect barbecue items. The highest quality USDA choice meats, hot dogs, and sausage. The perfect side salads of your choosing. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it.

No picnic is complete without an ice cold beer. This is where Frosty Beverage steps in. My only request is that you choose something that’s brewed in America. Just pulling your leg, the choice is completely up to you. The soda and/or beer of your choice. Chet will even load it into your vehicle.

We will accept entries through June 15th. The winner will receive the Great American Cookout Package prior to the 4th of July.

To add a little extra All American flavor to the contest Webb Weekly will be making a donation to The Lycoming County Veterans Association on behalf of everyone that enters the contest. The more entrants, the bigger the donation, all in support of our local veterans. I don’t know if we can get any more Red White and Blue than that. Other than possibly giving a gun away, but we do that during our Uncle Ron’s Big Buck Contest. So get registered, and I hope you win. Be safe out there and enjoy the Summer kick off.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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