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A Farmer’s Tribute to America’s Veterans

January 11, 2011
By: Darrell Smith, Farm Journal Conservation and Machinery Editor

Here’s something you don’t see on farms too often: a World War II-era halftrack, an 8” howitzer and a 2½-ton truck (known by GIs everywhere as a “deuce-and-a-half”), all vintage U.S. Army equipment. They are Lester Langeland’s tribute to America’s veterans.

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“Traveling to Russia and China made me think about everything we have in this country,” says Langeland. “I thought, gosh, our veterans did a lot for us.”
Langeland purchased the halftrack from a dealer, after it had performed fire service duty for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He purchased the howitzer from a veterans’ organization, which decided to stop displaying the deactivated gun because of the cost of liability insurance.
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He had each item repainted and commissioned appropriate signs honoring America’s veterans. Officially retired, Lester spends most days helping sons Marlin and Merle on the family farm near Coopersville, Mich. 
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