American Legion Post 235 in Matthews, VFW Post 4059 in Mint Hill, and the Marine Corps League Detachment 750 all participated in the hour long event held at Stumptown Park in downtown Matthews, NC which started at 11 am and ended at 12 noon.
As the event is held outdoors there is plenty of room on the grassy lawn to hold a large crowd of citizens. The public was cordially invited to recognize and honor all those who have served our nation in the defense of freedom. Unfortunately, all too often in today’s busy world and with only 1% of the population serving in the armed forces since the draft ended decades ago the crowd was maybe 100-120 patriotic citizens and veterans who attended.
The Choir from Independence High School led by music teacher Kristine M. Neale sang the Star Spangled Banner and performed an enthusiastic patriotic music medley honoring each service branch, Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. The guest Speaker was BG Fisk Outwater, USAF retired who had a very appropriate message on this Veterans Day. While Post 235 Commander Major Alan Burgess, USAF took the crowd through the history and purpose of each phase of the ceremony.
What is amazing to this writer is the apathy of the general public who do not seem to be able to find the time to take an hour of their holiday to honor our armed forces and it’s veterans. These men and women made an honorable choice while others chose a different path. They chose to become part of something bigger than themselves. Which in today’s America is a quality that seems hard to find.
On Veterans Day we honor all who served this nation, to those who answered the call, who fought for our freedoms. Many lived and stand with us proudly today, while others died making the supreme sacrifice for a nation who has been the beacon of freedom around the world. All of these veterans deserve our respect and gratitude for their unselfish sacrifice to keep this nation free from tyranny. Whether a veteran served during peacetime or during wartime it still is all about honor, duty and country. They all took the oath to defend this nation and proudly wear the uniform. They clearly are patriots of high caliber and are the best of the best this nation has to offer.
The ceremony itself is an education for those who did not serve and most importantly for our youth. Old Glory stands proudly and majestically in the wind, the flags of all the armed services flew with grace and distinction, the stand alone table to honor our POW-MIA’s, the wreath for our fallen, the Marine Corps League 21 gun salute and the playing of taps all symbols of our gratitude and the price paid for our freedoms.
It is a day to remind us of the sacrifices made by many from the American Revolution through all the wars in between and to the mountains of Afghanistan today. It is the American airmen, marine, sailor and soldier who have given us the freedoms we enjoy today and all too often take for granted.