Hundreds offer thanks to military at Red, White and Blue celebration

Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 9:34 PM
Last updated Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 12:09 AM
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Hundreds equipped with blankets and lawn chairs filled Evans Towne Center Park on Saturday evening for the 13th annual Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration.

Patrons watch as the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band performs at the 13th annual Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration at Evans Towne Center Park on Saturday  TRAVIS HIGHFIELD/STAFF
Patrons watch as the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band performs at the 13th annual Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration at Evans Towne Center Park on Saturday

The event, which began in the same location when it was an undeveloped field, was celebrating on Veterans Day weekend for the second year in a row, Co­lum­bia County events manager Stacie Adkins said. Previous events were held on Memorial Day.

“In wartime or peacetime, our military deserves our appreciation and thanks,” Adkins said. “They put their lives on the line every day, and I think it’s our responsibility as citizens and as a county government to recognize these guys and girls. The things we take for granted, they give for us.”

County Commission Chair­man Ron Cross delivered the opening remarks, followed by the Pledge of Al­le­giance led by members of Boy Scout Pack 321. Army Spc. Emily Shomo sang the national anthem.

Col. Sam Anderson, Fort Gordon’s garrison commander, thanked service members both past and present, asking them to stand while others in attendance showered them with applause.

“I have been in the Army 23 years and I have never been in a community that is more appreciative, supportive and accepting of the military population than what I have seen here in the CSRA,” he said. “It goes beyond a ‘thank you for your service.’” They genuinely work hard to think of ways to make life better for veterans and service members in this community.”

Retired Army Sgt. Tim Mose­ley said it warms his heart to see the community come together to support members of the military. He said he remembers being called a “baby killer” after returning from his three tours in Vietnam.

Retired Navy veteran John Schiltz wore a hat adorned with military buttons while he and his wife, Eva, watched the Army Signal Corps Band perform on stage. He said he gets emotional when he thinks of the troops currently serving overseas.

“It’s scary,” he said as tears welled up in his eyes. “It takes a lot of bravery and strength to do what they do, and you have to stop and appreciate it.”

Patrons were treated to a fireworks show at the end of the event.

Though the gesture might be small, Anderson said such events are important for future generations.

“We are going to be the strongest nation in the world only as long as we take care of our veterans,” he said. “Future generations of servicemen are going to want to serve depending on how they see veterans treated, so it’s very important to do these types of events.”

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bclicious 11/10/13 - 10:50 am
It's that time again!

So, Veterans Day has come again, and there many feelings amongst so-called Americans:

Some are feeling pride, some are feeling respect, and others are feeling guilty and somewhat shameful over the current situation regarding issues such as: homelessness, unemployment, and veteran suicide rates.

So, as we make an attempt to honor our nations Veterans on this Veterans Day weekend; ask yourself, "What have I done to support our nation's Veterans this year?"

If the answer is nothing, you need to take a hard look in the mirror, and question your value as a human being. If the answer is a pat on the back, and a thank you, than that is a first step in the right direction, but still not enough.

Ladies and gentlemen; we are failing our nation's Veterans on a daily basis, and we have to do more to get them back on their feet.

Remember that job-hunting is all about word of mouth, and at a minimum, we all know someone who might have a little part time work available.

So yes; tell them thank you once a year, but also try and do something to support them more than once a year.

God bless the United States of America in these dark times.

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