About 360 poppy-wearing patriots honored America’s men and women in the Armed Forces Friday at a at Smyrna’s Brinkley Park.
“I’m so happy and so proud to see all of you here - you patriots,” said Joseph “Doc” Masterson Sr., Retired Col. US Army, Korea, Vietnam veteran. “And I’m so happy for all of our veterans who are able to attend also. We owe, as you know, our veterans a debt of gratitude. They have been the saviors of our country. It doesn’t make any difference if you served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard. You’re all veterans and we are so proud of you.”
Masterson spoke about his family’s history of military service and the importance of being patriotic everyday. Bob Babcock, Capt., US Army, Vietnam veteran, and World War II veteran Ewell Black also spoke at the ceremony.
Babcock challenged the veterans at the ceremony to tell their stories to their friends, family and community.
“Every single one of us has a story to tell and you need to get it down before you die,” he said. “Everyday, 1,700 veterans die. Think about a beautiful tapestry hanging on the wall and each of us is a thread that goes into that tapestry of our units’ history and our country’s history. If we don’t tell our story and our unit is left out, think about how threadbare and ugly that thing is.”
JROTC Cadets opened the ceremony with the Presentation of the Colors. The Honors Chorus sang a selection of patriotic songs while the Osborne High School band performed an Armed Forces medley.
There was also a recognition of recipients of the Purple Heart and all other veterans present.
Among those in attendance were , Ward 6 Smyrna city council member, and , Ward 7 city council candidate. Ward 5 city council candidates and also attended the ceremony.
Saliba said his grandfather served in World War II. “It’s important for us to come out and support those who serve,’’ Saliba said. “And I think it’s a shame that we forget to do it everyday and that people don’t do it everyday.’’
Added Fennel: “It’s an important element to recognize our history and those who have fought and died and those who walk amongst us as heroes.’’
If you would like to honor those who defend our country, here are eight ways to give back to veterans, reflect on Veterans Day and say thanks online.