We are approaching a day that has been set aside to honor veterans who served this country in some branch of the military. Not all of these soldiers would be remembered in later years as heroes who made headlines, but each were involved in some way in a heroic effort to protect this country. Years ago, a long-term resident of Lexington, Mr. D. F. Trimmer, who was a dedicated history buff, submitted to the Daily Pantagraph numerous articles about Lexington activities and people he admired.
In August of 1918, at the close of World War I, Mr. Trimmer 's topic was a respected Lexington veteran Absolam Woods whom he described as one of the few remaining veterans who "went tramping with Sherman through Georgia, from Atlanta to the sea, during the civil war. Mr. Woods gave three and a half of the best years of his life to affirm that our flag might continue to float over the union of states. Marching through Georgia was the undoing of the south.
In those days of civil strife, in almost every congregation, and in every community, were bereaved mothers, the broken-hearted wife and orphans of soldier father. The boys in blue blouses and brass buttons, attracted attention and admiration everywhere, especially with girls of a marriageable age. It was the soldier who was later elected and filled most of the offices, county, state, and national, and will be so again.
Mr. Woods belonged to the 26th Illinois infantry, Company K, participating in fifty-seven engagements and traveled 6,931 miles. He is a carpentar by trade and worked with Timothy Roberts, who built this writer's house and most of the older residences of the community of Lexington. Mr. Woods is 78 years old and still has that erect soldier bearing and still is quite active, considering his age."
Now, Absolam Woods was just one of Lexington's many military veterans, and the Civil War he fought in for such a long period was only one example of the military efforts this country has been involved in. No matter which branch of the service an individual, male or female, has contributed to, each of those military veterans was doing something heroic by their efforts to assure the overall safety of this land.
When the Soldiers' Monument was dedicated in 1925 in Lexington's city park, former Governor of Illinois, Joseph FIfer, made this remark: "Stone and marble and metal will crumble away, but the spirit of patriotism and love that has moved this community to erect this monument shall and will endure forever through the countless ages."
We need to keep that spirit of patriotism and respect of all U.S. veterans alive and well. On this Veterans' Day, let's pause and take time to remember those who served in any branch of the military in defense of this great country of ours. We thank them all!