Honoring our veterans
LIVE OAK, Nov 12, 2012 (Suwannee Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A huge crowd turned out Monday morning at Live Oak Cemetery for a Veterans Day ceremony hosted by the American Legion Post 107 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 126.
Many veterans and family members attended to honor those who have served and may still be serving in our armed forces and to pay respect to those who have passed on.
The service opened with Commander of Post 107, Bruce Ward, welcoming all who came out. This was soon followed by the presentation of colors by Boy Scout Troop 408 and the Pledge of Allegiance by Cub Scout Pack 408. Chaplain Phil Smith of Post 107 led the invocation.
The speaker was Suwannee County Judge and and retired colonel of the United States Marine Corp., Lin Williams, who gave a rousing speech about how Frances Scott Key came to write the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner and it's eventual momentous place in American history as our national anthem.
The Roll Call of the Veterans Called Home was a reading of each of our local deceased military heroes who have passed away this year. This was followed by a 21-gun salute by Honor Guards of Post 107 and Chapter 126. Immediately following was Suwannee Middle School Band Director Ken Michael playing a poignant Taps on trumpet. Jean Cheeseman President of the Live Oak Garden Club thanked everyone and told how honored she and the club were to be a part of the ceremony. She placed a wreath by the soldier memorial with its inscription "Never Forgotten." The Benediction was done by John Foley, chaplain of DAV 126.
Some of the vets would share some of the experiences they had many years ago serving our country. "I was with Patton. You know they made a movie about him, but he wasn't really like that, they were just trying to sell a movie," said Luel Poole, a veteran of World War II. "I was with him the day his driver was killed. He (Patton) cried and then he said I have to fight a war."
Poole added that his colonel at the time said that if Patton had fought over in the Pacific and had been able to use tanks like McArthur, he would have ended the war quick, he chuckled.
Tim Schmid, 63, the finance officer in American Legion Post 107 had first served in Vietnam.
"Vietnam was on its way down," said Schmid. "They gave us a choice to get out."
Schmid wasn't quite done serving in the military as he was then stationed in the Philippines for a year and a half as well as Germany for two years.
Many of the veterans in attendance were grateful and pleased with the ceremony.
"I always come here," said Roger Higman, 83, who served in the Army in Korea. "I always enjoy it." Retired Marine, Calvin Mercer, 88, who had served in the Pacific during WW II in Guam and Iwo Jima thought it was nice.
When asked how the ceremony went, Ernie Jossi, retired from the Navy, who served from 1961-65, said it was very nice. "I'm proud of those who are with us and did a lot more than I did," said Jossi.
Retired Army Major, Lee Peters who did two tours of Vietnam said the ceremony was always good and Air Force Chaplain, Phil Smith said he enjoyed it and was glad to take part.
Following the ceremony, many of the different vets were seen milling about talking amongst themselves. Although many served in different branches and in different places with varying circumstances, they all shared a commonality, and that was to serve and fight for freedom for America.
There are more photos online and photos are available for purchase. Go to suwanneedemocrat.com and click the photo gallery link on the left navigation bar.
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