DANVILLE — Danville residents attending the village’s Veterans Day Ceremony heard from one of its own Thursday. Capt. Josh Byers, U.S. Marine Corps and a 2000 graduate of Danville High School, was the featured speaker at the ceremony.
He spent 12 years in the Marine Corps and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He is now with the Department of Homeland Security.
“I want to thank everybody for coming down here today,” Byers said. “It truly is an honor. I was asked to speak three years ago and could not make it, but I have had a lot of time to think about what I want to say.
“If I were to ask you what a veteran is or what Veterans Day means, I’ll bet no two single people would have the same answer. Today when we talk about veterans we usually associate it with Iraq or Afghanistan, Vietnam, the Korean War, World War II or World War I.
“Any veteran who went to boot camp had two things run through their mind. The first would be ‘Oh God, what have I gotten myself into?’
“The second thing that would go through their mind would be to realize all the little, simple freedoms they no longer had. They were being told everything; what to do. Today, even, I take all these little freedoms for granted. It makes me think about what we have in this country and the people who stopped what they were doing and fought to give us what we have today. We need to stop and reflect on that. These are the people who have sustained our freedoms and liberties. We need to go up to them and thank them and shake their hands. The support we get from our communities goes a long way in helping us do our job.”
After Byers’ speech, there was a 21-rifle salute and the playing of Taps to honor those veterans who have fought and given their lives to preserve our freedoms.
The names of three World War II veterans who died during the war were added to the Memorial Monument as part of the ceremony.
These names were inadvertently left off the monument and two plaques with their names have been added due in large part to the efforts of Dan Shesbey and David Greer.
“From my high school days I knew there were names missing from the plaque,” Shesbey said. “I was never in a position to do anything about it at the time. When I retired and came back here, where I was raised, I decided to become active in the (American) Legion. We did a lot of research and finally got the names on the monument.”
Sheasbey came up with the names of Samuel R. Brown, a railway operating engineer was killed in North Africa in April 1944; Ralph Dustin an infantry man and was killed in Lorraine France, burial location unknown. Carl Shultz was killed ferrying aircraft in Alaska, burial location unknown.
It was through Greer’s research efforts that Shultz’s name came to light.