Local veterans, students and members of the community braved the cold temperatures Monday to celebrate Veteran’s Day and honor the men and women who have served our country.
Several Vietnam veterans were among those in attendance at Monday’s ceremony. Durward Newhard, who organizes the event each year, asked the students to welcome those veterans by shouting “Welcome home Vietnam veterans.”
State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) addressed the students in attendance as well stressing the importance of remembering veterans, not just on Veteran’s Day, but every day.
“We can never forget what these gentlemen have sacrificed for us,” he said. “It is our duty to continue the American dream that they sacrificed for.”
Joshua Inks, who served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant aboard Destroyer U.S. Barry and Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. George Washington.
Inks said before he joined the Navy, he was always confused by Veteran’s Day.
“Veterans are among us now in greater numbers than they have been in decades,” he said.
He said most people recognize veterans of those men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, but tend to forget about those who are currently serving.
“It’s easy to forget now that many are coming home,” he said. “They continue to make sacrifices every day.”
Inks said from the first day of basic training, the men and women who are serving, or have served in the military, are stripped of many of the liberties that most of us take for granted.
“But ask anyone in the military and they will tell you the most difficult task is being away from their families for extended periods of time,” he said.
Inks said in the current political climate, the Armed Forces is on of those jobs that isn’t political.
“No matter who our president is or who is in Congress, we all honor that oath to defend the Constitution of the United States,” he said. “There is much more to the Armed Forces than marching and carrying a gun.”
Staff writers Warren Dillaway, Stacy Millberg, Shelley Terry and Mark Todd contributed to this article.