Veterans Day celebrated in Lewisburg
By Karen Hall
The ceremony for Veterans Day was planned to take place in the Public Square Park, but was moved to the Dixie Theatre because of the threat of inclement weather.
In fact, just before 11 a.m. it was sunny and breezy, with the temperature in the low 60s. The move, however, was justified because so many people turned out they wouldn't have all fitted in the park.
American Legion Post 39 Adjutant Larry Haislip opened the proceedings by explaining the Armistice which ended hostilities in World War I was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, and that is why Veterans Day ceremonies traditionally start at 11 a.m.
Starting with World War II and continuing through all the conflicts the United States has been involved in from them until the present day, Haislip asked for the veterans in the audience to raise their hands, and they were applauded.
"These are the people we're here to honor," said Haislip. "Without their service, we would not be free to gather here today."
The Blue Star Mothers and Gold Star Mothers were also applauded.
"Let's always remember them," said Haislip.
The American Legion 1st Vice Commander led the Pledge of Allegiance and Mark Young, quartermaster of VFW Post 5109, sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Accompanying himself on the guitar, Young went on to sing two more patriotic songs.
The guest speaker was Dewey Hunter, who is a veteran and comes from a family of veterans.
"America's day for veterans is unique among nations," said Hunter. "It gives us a chance to pay homage to those who are still with us."
He asked the veterans in the audience to stand, and then asked the people next to them to thank them for their service.
'Those two words can never be said enough," exclaimed Hunter.
On the stage was a small table and chair, but this was not part of the set for the Christmas production which is already in rehearsal.
It had been arranged by Hunter, and every part of it symbolized something, which he explained.
Then, to the strains of "Amazing Grace" Hunter solemnly set his father's service hat on the table. This was followed by "Taps."
Hunter is a member of Rolling Thunder, and said their main focus was to publicize Prisoner of War and Missing in Action issues, as well as take care of the veterans here now. Every month, his chapter visits veterans in the locked down unit at the VA hospital in Murfreesboro. These are the ones who will never re-enter society, Hunter said, and who, in many cases, have been abandoned by their families.
"You are truly American heroes," Hunter concluded.
"We need to forever remember our veterans," said Haislip. "Especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who never returned home.
"God bless our country, and God bless all those who have served her," he concluded.
The American Legion chaplain led a closing prayer, and then everyone was free to go to the VFW Post for lunch.