The Forest Acres Quilting Club was honored to be a part of the Memorial Day service at the Highland Cemetery in Adams on May 28, 2018. Red Klein has organized this event for several years and those who attend are always impressed with the program. Even though I have lived in the Adams community for over 30 years, I had never been as we usually go to the service at the Dwight Cemetery where Tom’s parents are buried. There was a nice crowd in attendance in spite of the unseasonably warm temperature.
The event began with a presentation of the colors by the Adams VFW, the Adams American Legion, and the Boy Scouts, followed by a memorial prayer given by Red Klein. The American Legion then presented an impressive 21-gun salute. Catie Reed, middle schooler from Freeman Public Schools, beautifully sang the National Anthem and Myron Dorn, District 30 legislative candidate from Adams, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Myron then introduced the speaker for the day, Brigadier General Scott Gronewold from Adams. Scott is a member of the Nebraska National Guard and led troops in Iraq and Bosnia during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He told about his work with Gold Star families and related heart felt stories about two soldiers under his command who lost their lives while protecting our freedom.
Following Scott’s speech, our quilting club awarded Quilts of Valor to Vietnam War veterans, Bill Brannon of Adams and Clifford Obbink of Firth. Bill Brannon enlisted in the Air Force in January 1955. While he spent the majority of his service at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska, he also had spent time in California, Washington, Guam, and Puerto Rico. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1969. After one year, he returned to Offutt and retired in 1975. Bill received the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Citation, as well as other awards totaling nine ribbons and medals in all.
Clifford Obbink was drafted into the Army in 1970. He did his Basic Training in Fort Lewis, Washington and then studied journalism and photography at the Defense Information School at Fort Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana. He used those skills as an Information Specialist when he was deployed to Vietnam. After two years of service, he was discharged in 1971. Cliff received the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with Overseas Bar, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster,
Given the heat of the day - mid 90’s at 11:00 in the morning - we debated about whether or not to drape the quilts around our honorees. However, that is an important part of our presentation as it represents wrapping them in comfort after returning from war. I told each of them that they didn’t have to keep it on too long! We were thrilled that both of them spoke to the audience. They thanked the community for the support they received during their service and reminded them to remember those who did not come home.
The program ended with the firing of the cannon that resides at the cemetery - a very impressive conclusion to a memorable Memorial Day service.
The Forest Acres Quilting Club has now awarded fifteen quilts to World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans in the Adams area. We were delighted to be a part of this ceremony as we were able to spread the mission and message of Quilts of Valor to yet another audience. Congratulations to Bill and Cliff!