Washington honors its veterans

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


The Rev. Dave Cotner opened his keynote speech during the dinner honoring Veterans Day Saturday evening with a speech stressing the need to embrace a long view.

During the speech,he spoke of the importance of commitment in anything that is being done. He said people who are going to thrive or survive, in war or in life, need to be commited for the long haul.

?As I was prepping for this speech, I did some digging into the history of the American Legion and to my delight I discovered the American legion was the organization that spearheaded the G.I. Bill initiative that later evolved into the Post-911 G.I. Bill,? Cotner said. ?After my time in the service I was educated under the post-911 G.I. Bill. I studied Bible and theology at Faith Baptist College in Ankeny. In a very real way, you, the American Legion, helped to educate me.?

Cotner is an Iraqi war veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2010, and was a paratrooper and intelligence or political analyst for the 10th Special Forces group and is currently the lead pastor of Prairie Flower Baptist Church. He deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Cotner said he has learned the American culture as a whole is ?flaky, fickle and flighty.? He said this is especially true of his generation, the millenial generation, which he said seems to have forgotten virtues such as loyalty, dedication and commitment. He said seeing a presentation from young people who had attended a state conference through the American Legion delighted him, as not everyone in the generation had lost values. He said Americans seem to like the beginnings of things, but don?t like to follow through to the end.

He said the lack of commitment seems to surface in several areas, and he sees many of them. Marriage is one of the big areas where he said it surfaces. He said many people are ?clueless? about the need for commitment in marriage.

Cotner spoke of the Iraqi War and listed three reasons why the war had taken as long as it had ? the Iraqi perception of time; some faulty intelligence, such as reports of weapons of mass destruction; and a change of mission from war to country-building. He said he believes the war was an honorable war that helped many people in the region.

He said the marriages that last longest are the ones with the strongest view on commitment.

?In life in general, you need to be commited for the long haul,? he said.