Ceremony held Sunday in Rose Garden; AL Post 3 for local veterans

Published 6:41 pm Monday, November 12, 2018

By Gabrielle Terrett

The Vicksburg Post

For a century, Americans have been recognizing the sacrifice and service of the military in order for the United States and its citizens to live in peace.

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Vicksburg once again recognized those who have served in order to protect the rights the rest of us enjoy.

Sunday marked a century of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month ending the “war to end all wars,” and local veterans and their families gathered at the Vicksburg Rose Garden to commemorate those who have fallen, those who are still fighting and those who have returned home from combat.

“Veterans Day means to me that the citizens of Vicksburg and Warren County recognize that I gave up time from my life and away from my family to serve and protect those who are standing and gathered here and every Mississippian,” 1st Sgt. Nolan Smith, a retired Marine, said.

This year was the 35th annual convocation to honor veterans. The speaker, Commander Michelle Stewart of Tyner Ford American Legion Post 213, discussed to the crowd the importance of recognizing our veterans.

“Veterans Day is important because our nation’s freedom comes from our veterans,” Stewart said. “I mentioned in my speech that we have almost 16 million veterans so we need to honor our veterans on more than just Veterans Day, but I do appreciate that there is a day set aside where we can do that because it’s just so important.

“In order to maintain our country we have to have people who are willing to serve,” Stewart said. “If young people know that their service is appreciated, then they are more inclined to serve.” Following the program in the Rose Garden, a luncheon to further embrace Vicksburg’s veterans was hosted at American Legion Post 3.

Volunteers from AmeriCorps helped serve the meal.

On stage, a vacant place setting and chair was set out to symbolize and honor those veterans who did not return home from war. It included a white tablecloth, red rose, an inverted wine glass and an American flag.

“This day signifies all of the sacrifices that the men and women gave for us to be free,” Pat Baldwin, Department of Mississippi commander for the American Legion, said. “Freedom is not free. It is the sacrifices and the blood that the men and women shed.

“We have to remember them because if we don’t remember them, their efforts will be forgotten.”