Thursday, November 15, 2007
City pays tribute to veterans
By SUE WATSON
A number of local veterans participated in a Veterans Day ceremony Monday hosted by the City of Holly Springs at the Eddie Lee Smith Jr. Multi-Purpose Building.
Each veteran was recognized and thanked for his service – James Brown, U.S. Army 1944-46 and Air Force 1952-73; David Stratmon, U.S. Army 3128 Quartermaster Company assigned to the 1st Division including the Battle of the Bulge in 1945 and stationed in Germany, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany; Knowledge Gipson, U.S. Army; Bill Janssen, USAF 26 years; Johnny McDonald, ret. Major U.S. Army airborne infantry active and Marine Corps; Joseph Ford, four years USAF; Elmo McKinney, U.S. Army 1943-1945; and David Caldwell, U.S. Army 1944-54.
Commander Bill Janssen with the Collins-Hurdle VFW Post 5697 pointed out that one out of 197 Americans are veterans and also one out of four homeless Americans are veterans.
He urged all to buy or give a donation to the Buddy Poppy drive made by disabled and needy veterans. Monies go to provide compensation for veterans and financial assistance to orphans and widows, he said.
On hand for the celebration were members of ROTC at Holly Springs High School; the Rust College band, directed by Mr. Weatherall; members of the board of aldermen and mayor; Edwin Smith and Carole Jean Taylor who provided solos; Nealy Jones, who read a proclamation by President George W. Bush; emcee Rodney Whaley; and community members. The event was organized by Connie Mason.
Alderman Nancy Hutchens read prose on the origin of Veterans Day beginning with Armistice Day, established for veterans of World War I on November 11, 1919, to honor veterans who served in what became known as “The War To End All Wars.”
Armistice Day was set as a reminder to society to remember World War I, to ensure a lasting peace, and became a national day of celebration with ceremonies and speaches by a resolution of Congress.
Twenty years after the war, Congress authorized Armistice Day as a national holiday in 1938 and World War II broke out in 1939.
Nations great and small participated in the bloody struggle and gave rise to what has become known in the United States as “the greatest generation.”
Then in 1953, a small town in Kansas held the first Veterans Day celebration and Congress renamed Armistice Day as Veterans Day beginning November 11, 1954.
Americans still give thanks on Veterans Day for the freedoms they enjoy by honoring those who served and lived and those who made the supreme sacrifice.
Alderman Russell Johnson gave the prayer of thanksgiving for “the love, blessings and grace” that brought veterans home safely and the grace that enables the nation to go forward.
A retired National Guardsman, Rodney Whaley, honored those who served and said the nation is protected by those willing to serve.
“We are great because we have a strong military service,” he said.
Joe Ford, with the VFW Post 250, who took advantage of the educational opportunities offered veterans, said military service maintains liberty and offers opportunities for educational and career advancement.
“If I can, you can,” he said to students. “There are individuals who went through things you would not believe and they came back.”
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