Honoring a Local Soldier

By Max Resnik

May 28, 2011 Updated May 28, 2011 at 6:17 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Spl. Terrance McKinney was honored at American Legion Post 499 as the National Guard Solider of the Year today.

The honor was just one part of today’s festivities at the post where throngs of Northeast Indiana Hoosiers came to kick off Memorial Day Weekend. McKinney, a graduate of Northside High School, says the honor he received is bigger than him.

He says, “There's so many people who have died in this uniform and so many people who have sacrificed so much more than what I have. So really, winning Soldier of the Year is not really a testament to myself and to what I've done, it's more of a testament to those guys who are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and those guys who have fallen and those guys still missing in action.”

Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day, known as AMRAD, sponsored today’s festivities. Soldiers shared stories, singers shared songs and veterans gathered to recall the struggle to maintain freedom.

Melissa Smith, the daughter of a World War 2 veteran says today is about more than barbecues. She says, “Memorial Day is not a day just for barbecues and for gathering with family, but it's a day for us to reflect on what our country means to us and what it takes to truly maintain a free country."

Both McKinney and Smith say citizens need recognize the sacrifices made by veterans and understand that less than one percent of the American population wears the uniform.

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