Brad Dostal speaks at IVH in honor of Memorial Day

Retired Army colonel hails from Clutier

Retired Army Col. Brad Dostal gives the keynote speech at the Iowa Veterans Home Memorial Day Program. Roughly 175 people were in attendance. PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM

MARSHALLTOWN – Retired Army Col. Brad Dostal was the keynote speaker at the Iowa Veterans Home (IVH) Memorial Day Program on Monday, May 27. Introduced by Commandant Todd Jacobus, he told the roughly 175 people in attendance about some of Dostal’s military background, which includes service as an infantry officer, a Ranger and numerous service awards.

When Jacobus discovered Dostal, originally from Clutier, was around, he said he wanted him to be involved in the program.

“He has done some incredibly heavy lifting for our nation during his career,” Jacobus said. “Now he’s back with us here in Iowa.”

Dostal began his speech by thanking Jacobus and the staff at IVH for the opportunity and the veterans for their service.

“Today, across our great country, citizens are gathered to honor our brave fighting men and women, who for 248 years have underwritten our freedom through their duty, honor, sacrifice and selfless service,” he said.

Dostal said many veterans have given a lot for America, and some have given everything.

“They laid down their lives to defend this great nation and the freedoms we hold dearly,” he said.

Memorial Day, Dostal said, is a day for grief and celebration — to honor the tragic loss of life and remember the courage. He said he frequently reflects on the soldiers he served with, and their families.

“I often feel a loss of words for what can be said to honor them as their sacrifice was so great,” Dostal said.

Yet it is important to remember and honor the military men and women, he told the crowd. The obligation to the veterans and fellow citizens is clear — that freedom enjoyed in the United States must prosper.

“Their service and sacrifice reminds us that freedom is not free,” Dostal said. “It has a cost, and just as they who we commemorate today were willing to sacrifice so much, so too must we. Although in a less final way, be willing to give of ourselves, by giving of ourselves and sharing our love for others, we do justice to their sacrifice.”

Peace is fragile and requires constant vigilance. The citizens of the nation owe the veterans a promise to maintain a steady gaze and a toughness as adversaries are faced across the globe and at home. The only way to meet that is to stay strong together, he said.

The veterans honored on Monday gave their last full measure to serve the country, Dostal said.

“They gave their lives so we could live ours,” he said. “So the granddaughter can grow up and pursue her dreams; so a son is able to live a happy life; so a mother can raise her family in peace and freedom. Everything you hold precious in this country was made possible by Americans who gave their all. Because of them our nation is stronger, safer and will always remain a beacon of freedom around the world.”

Jacobus thanked the crowd for taking time to be there and thanked the veterans for their service.

“We recognize the debt we owe to veterans every day,” he said. “On Memorial Day specifically — reverently and humbly — we set our eyes to our brothers and sisters and every generation who paid the ultimate sacrifice in military service to our great nation; choosing us, our lives and our futures above their own.”