JASPER —Due to inclement weather, this year's Veteran Day observance was moved from Bradley Park to the Jasper School gymnasium. Co-hosted by American Legion Post 93 and Auxiliary, the theme of the ceremony was "Honoring All Who Served: Duty, Honor, Country." The Newton County veteran randomly selected as the featured veteran for the event was Chief Warrant Officer (ret.) Kimberly D. Lore, of Jasper.
Pastor Jimmy Dale Huskey and Delaney Reddell, a Jasper High School student, opened the program by respectively delivering the invocation and singing the National Anthem. Post Commander Jim Pelz then reminded everyone of the origin of Veterans Day.
"On the eleventh hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the fighting of World War I ended in 1918. Due to the conclusion of the 'war to end all wars' November 11 became a universal and recognized day of celebration. The day was originally declared Armistice Day eight years after the end of World War I and honored only veterans of that war. Then, in 1954 after World War II and the Korean War, it was renamed Veterans Day to honor all veterans who served America in war and defended our republic," Pelz said.
Deana Bess, wearing her uniform as chief petty officer, asked all veterans in attendance to stand and be recognized. "We honor all of you," she said.
"You unselfishly placed your lives on the line for our freedom. Maybe you were ordinary people before, and then you answered the call of duty. You left your families, your homes and your lives, not for recognition or fame, nor for the honors we bestow on you today. You served to protect our country. You served to protect our way of life. Thank you," she said. "As we honor you today let us also be grateful for those who are currently serving to protect our country."
Post Adjutant Bill Hemmer said, "So many recent events have helped all of us realize how truly unique the American way of life is. The freedom we enjoy is extremely special and that is why we must defend it. Now is the time not only to honor those who have fought, or are fighting for our freedom, it is also the time for each of us to take part in protecting it.
"The defense of freedom is not just for those in the military," continued post member Jenni Olsen. "Each of us share that duty, and that responsibility. We don't have to join the Army or the Navy or any other organization of defense to actively defend our way of life. We can protect our freedom simply by maintaining it here in America. If we want to preserve our freedoms we must put them into action, for example: By holding our elected officials accountable, running for office, serving on local committees or boards, by voting wisely in elections, or speaking out against agendas that threaten our way of life and our Constitution," she concluded.
Shawn Bess, attired in his uniform as chief petty officer, followed with these comments on ensuring the benefits of freedom for everyone; by volunteering in the community, teaching our children about the founding of America, its true history and about the Constitution. Then, there are days like Veterans Day that honor those who serve and remind Americans that freedom is not free. Thank you for honoring our veterans, today. Let's walk towards tomorrow still honoring them by living in the freedom they protected, he said.