Bob Bosma delivers keynote speech for Veterans Day celebration
Boonville resident Bob Bosma was the Keynote speaker for this year's Veteran's Day Celebration at the Boonville High School. The theme for this year's Veteran's Day event was individuals missing in action.
After the early morning breakfast at the BHS Commons, Veterans made their way to the gym for the program. Posting of the colors was done by Boonville High School Boy Scouts Troop 67. The Boonville Silver Pirate Band played the music while the Boonville High School Chamber Choir provided some choral music as well.
Daughters of the American Revolution Hannah Cole Chapter Vice Regent, Kathryn Wilkerson introduced Bosma.
According to Bosma's biography read by Wilkerson, Bosma joined the Army in April of 1967. He attended medical training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas and by December was sent straight to Vietnam as a Combat Medic.
His assignment was with the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile). During his tour of duty, Bosma was awarded a Purple Heart, an Army Commendation Medal with “V” for valor, and a Combat Medic Badge. He left the active Army in 1975 and joined the Missouri National Guard in 1980. He transferred to the Army Reserve in 1985, and was discharged in 1996 as a Sergeant First Class.
In 1987, Bosma set out to locate as many of the men he served with in Vietnam as possible. Their first reunion was in St. Louis in 1988, and the 77th Artillery Association grown out of his efforts has a membership of over a thousand 77th Artillery veterans from Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and the War on Terror former warriors. There is also a chapter about his Vietnam medical experiences in the book "Combat Medic: Vietnam" edited by Craig Roberts.
Bosma's seach centered around military men and women missing in action.
“From World War One through the war on Terroism, more than 142,000 Americans have been held as prisoners of war,” Bosma said. “Today there are nearly 90,000 United States Servicemen who are still unaccounted for dating back from World War II until now.”
Bosma said the families remember their lost loved ones everyday. When a loved one is found, it gives the family a sense of closure.
“We can be grateful for the work of the joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, based in Hawaii. This month, there are teams searching for missing military members to return their remains home. One team is in Europe, one is in North Korea and the third is in Vietnam. Their daily mission is to respectfully and diligently do everything they can to ensure the families of the missing receive a full accounting,” Bosma said.
Bosma also said everyone who has worn the uniform and fought the battle understand the nature and sacrifice.
“And so long as Americans are willing to take up the mantle and fight for freedom on behalf of others, our destiny will always involve sacrifice,” Bosma said. “Full accounting for those missing in action is not simply a term or a flag or us, its a commitment to the memory of MIAs and their families.”