SIOUX CITY | U.S. Army Col. (Retired) John Mansfield, of Sioux City, served as keynote speaker for the Veterans Day observance organized by the Woodbury County Commission of Veterans Affairs. The event was held at the Woodbury County Courthouse.
Mansfield, a Vietnam War veteran who authored a book, "20 Days in May: Vietnam, 1968," talked in direct terms about the necessity for veterans to share stories of their war-time experiences.
Mansfield admitted he didn't know the story of relative's experience until a stranger asked him about it following a ceremony near Lake Shetek in Minnesota.
"It dawned on me that I didn't know much about Duke's experiences," Mansfield said.
It put him to work, simply by inquiring, sitting back and listening, giving a loved one the latitude to reach back into his memory bank.
"Sharing those stories is important for learning and for healing, not only for the person listening, but for the veteran as well," Mansfield said, adding how healthy it can also be for veterans to attend reunions with their old soldiers, sailors and Marines.
Mansfield then took the opportunity to laud the Sioux City Journal and The Betty Strong Encounter Center for its working relationship that has helped bring into public light the personal military and post-service histories of more than 100 veterans.
Mansfield's comments during this solemn program came on the eve of the opening of the exhibit, "Serving Her Country: Women in the Military," which features the portraits and stories of 22 Siouxland women who served in our U.S. Armed Forces, dating back to World War II.
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Kathleen Osterman does a plank in a studio at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, Iowa. Osterman, a Vietnam War veteran who served as an operating room nurse in Da Nang, teaches yoga classes in Sheldon and Sibley, Iowa, where she resides. The Storm Lake, Iowa, native served 23½ years with the U.S. Army and Army Reserves.
Veteran Lois Wright walks her dogs, Rocco and Leah, in front of her rural Moville home in late October. Wright served in the U.S. Navy in information technology and is currently commander of the Wink-Sparks American Legion Post No. 303 in Moville, Iowa.
Veteran Lee Ann R. (Parker) Muilenburg works as a certified nursing assistant in the intensive care unit of Mercy Medical Center-Sioux Cit. Muilenburg enlisted in the army in 1981 when she was 17-years-old.
Veteran Angela Miller is shown at the USD Barnes & Noble bookstore that she manages on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Miller served in the U.S. Army and comes from a military family, noting how she's an "Army brat, Army soldier, Army wife and Army mom."
Veteran Roberta Pendleton, 99, leans on her walker while sitting for a photo in her Sioux City apartment. Pendleton, whose maiden name was Stock, served as a Navy WAVE from 1942 to 1945 and left the service as a full lieutenant.
Army veteran Jen Steele rolls a bowling ball down a ramp at Regency Square, where she is employed as director of life enrichment. Steele enlisted at age 17 after seeing news footage of the 9/11 terror attacks and said leadership skills learned in the military made her able to do the job she has at the retirement community.
Army veteran Cynthia Aden handed out American flags along the parade route at a combined VFW and American Legion entry in the University of South Dakota's annual Dakota Days homecoming parade. Aden served in the Army from 1975 to 1978 and is Clay County, South Dakota's, veterans service officer.
Veteran Nadine Ruden clutches a Quilt of Valor in the sewing room of her rural Hinton, Iowa, home. Ruden estimates she's created about 20 quilts, but prizes the Quilt of Valor that a friend had made for her. Ruden served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve from 2008-2017 and was deployed to Germany for a year treating wounded soldiers.
Mapleton, Iowa Mayor Donna Shaw said her military uniform continue to her pride. A 21-year U.S. Navy veteran, she said all young people should spend at least one hitch in the military because it will teach them discipline, determination and the importance of teamwork.
Vera Varner, 84, co-owns a Pronto gas station in Ida Grove, Iowa. The Air Force veteran worked in the Pentagon in the 1950s as a teletype operator.
Molli Griffin, pictured in her classroom at Kingsley-Pierson High School, where she teaches biology and agriculture, served a one-year tour of duty in Iraq as a member of the Army Reserves. Griffin, who discharged from the Reserves this summer after 15 years of service, is raising a puppy for Partners for Patriots, an organization that provides service dogs for disabled veterans.
Army veteran Ranae Reed plays with Valentine, her 11-year-old German shorthair dog, at her home in Sioux City. Dogs were an important part of her service while deployed in the DMZ in Korea -- both as companions and as unofficial guard dogs. Reed served from 1980 to 1995 as a nuclear, biological and chemical defense specialist.
Navy veteran Marjorie Culligan is shown with her poodle, Allie, during an interview in her Sheldon, Iowa. Culligan, 93, is a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea.
Lynette Kiger left her hometown of Akron in 1975 to join the U.S. Air Force, which provided her with an abundance of opportunities she wouldn't have had otherwise. She returned home in 2014 and joined Akron EMS, a volunteer ambulance service that serves the town of nearly 1,500, and became the group's director in 2016.
U.S. Coast Guard veteran Mary Lou Guthridge, of Moville, Iowa, is shown with her motorcycle on Oct. 4 at Stone State Park in Sioux City. Guthridge is an American Legion chaplain and Legion Rider. She was one of the veterans featured in the "Women in the Military" exhibit that is retired Wednesday in a reception at the Betty Strong Encounter Center in Sioux City.
Veteran Virgina Linneman helps residents play Uno on Friday at Pleasant Acres Care Center in Hull, Iowa. Linneman, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, keeps active in the community though the Sioux County Veterans Affairs Commission and by volunteering at the care facility.
Veteran Brenda Miller at her rural Hinton, Iowa, farm. Miller served in Saudi Arabia when her U.S. Army reserve unit was activated. She is currently the chairwoman of the Plymouth County Veterans Affairs Commission and has served as a poultry superintendent at the Plymouth County Fair.
A runner and a walker of the nature trails that surround her Sergeant Bluff home, Woodbury County Commission of Veteran Affairs executive director Danielle Dempster said her own stint in the U.S. Army was just the beginning of her service to fellow veterans.
Veteran Margaret Jessen talks about her service as a Marine during World War II. Bored living in Homer, Neb., after her high school graduation, Jessen said she enlisted in 1944 because she "wanted the action."
Vicki De Witt, a retired member of the 185th Air Refueling Wing, is shown in her home near Lawton, Iowa on Wednesday. De Witt served in the Army Reserves and Air National Guard during a military career that spanned 31 years.
World War II veteran Claire O'Brien sits in her Sioux City home on Thursday. O'Brien, 95, logged more than 2 years, 6 months of service after enlisting with the U.S. Naval Reserves W.A.V.E.S., which represents Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. After the war, O'Brien returned to college and spent her career as a high school teacher and counselor.
The exhibit, which shows at The Betty Strong Encounter Center, will be in place through Memorial Day. Attendance is free and open to the public.