Winn was the speaker for Cedartown's Veterans Day Program, held at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park on East Avenue. The event was organized by Brewster-Cleveland Post 86, American Legion, Cedartown.
Winn, a World War II Marine Air Corps veteran, has been a member of Post 86 for 64 years.
Winn spoke on the need to honor America's veterans. He also argued for projecting an image of strength in a dangerous world.
"Instead of apologizing for our country around the world … we need to regain our strength," Winn said. "Instead of worrying about what they think of us, let them worry about what we think of them."
Winn read a portion of American Revolutionary Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech as an example of this nation's founding principles.
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" Winn recited. "Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
Winn said the military today is impaired in its mission by political correctness. Winn cited the uproar over the treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad in 2004.
A military investigation into allegations of abuse, which included torture, rape, sodomy and the killing of prisoners, resulted in the United States Department of Defense removing seventeen soldiers and officers from duty. Eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery as a result.
Winn said conduct at Abu Ghraib was shameful and that the soldiers responsible deserved punishment. But, he also said the allegations were exaggerated and had unfairly denigrated all branches of the military.
"Calling it torture is silly," Winn said. "It was like a bad hazing."
If critics wanted to know what torture was really like, Winn said, he could direct them to some of his fellow veterans who survived the forced Bataan Death March. Those soldiers who survived the mistreatment of the Japanese military in World War II know what torture really looks like, Winn said.
Winn also spoke at length about the importance of accurately recording the history of warfare. Not doing so dishonors veterans, he said.
"I get angry when we do not record the proper history of the war in the Pacific," Winn said.
As an example, Winn pointed to the modern debate about the decision to use atomic weapons against Japan at the close of World War II. Critics fail to take into account the greater loss of life that would have come in a land invasion, Winn adds.
"They say, '(the bombs) killed women and children. We don't do that,'" Winn paraphrased. "Many millions of us would have died if not for the bomb, and many millions of women and children."
Winn is co-author of the book, "D-Day Japan: The Truth About the Invasion of Japan, its War Crimes, and the Atomic Bomb," written with Gen. Ray Davis (deceased), Acclaim Press, May 2009. He also co-authored "Clear Conscience: The Atom Bomb Vs. the Super Holocaust," with Raymond Davis, Turner Publishing Company, 1999.
Also participating in the ceremonies were Post 86 Senior Vice Commander Marvin Hampton. Members of posts #86 and #524 participated in a 21-gun salute. A cannon was also fired. Rhonda Sizemore followed with the playing of Taps.
Volunteers with the American Legion Auxiliary also distributed Flanders Fields Memorial Poppies for a small requested donation. Money raised from the sale of the red paper flowers - hand-made by veterans - go to support veteran programs.
Photos by Krystin Fain