Saluting the red, white and bluePublished 11:43am Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Sunday was a solemn day of remembrance at the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex as veterans, their families and citizens attended the Alexander City Veterans Day program to honor those who served.
Alexander City Honor Guard Tommy Martin opened the ceremony in prayer. The Alexander City Police Honor Guard led the presentation of the colors. Following the national anthem and pledge of allegiance, Mayor Charles Shaw addressed the crowd.
“I am thankful for these veterans (here today) and all who have served,” Shaw said. “Today is a day we honor all these veterans. They have provided us with all the freedoms we enjoy today.”
Shaw then introduced the speaker for the day, Col. Jerry Martin, commander of the 621st Troop Support Command.
“Today we join all Americans in remembering the sacrifices that have been made to ensure our freedoms are upheld,” Martin said.
Martin detailed the history of Veterans Day, which began as Armistice Day in 1919. Armistice Day originally was designed to honor veterans of WWI. It wasn’t until 1954 that day was renamed to Veterans Day in order to honor all veterans.
Martin said 50,000 men and women from Alabama are currently serving our nation in the armed services. More than 420,000 veterans live in Alabama, Martin said, which is roughly 10 percent of the state.
“Today is a day to dream of a brighter future – it is a day to remember we have a mission to honor the legacy of our founding fathers,” Martin said. “America will remain the home of the free, so long as it is the home of brave men and women.”
While Martin highlighted the historical defense of America’s freedoms, he also reminded everyone of the important role of those currently in the military.
“We have a responsibility to use and defend our freedoms,” Martin said. “We have to keep ourselves ready and expect challenges of the future to be tougher than those of the past.”
The attention then turned to the laying of the wreaths ceremony. Wreaths were laid in honor of the following groups and wars: Tohopeka Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans and Auxillary, Camp 573 Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan Freedom.
The Alexander City Police Honor Guard fired a salute, followed by a playing of taps by Alexander City Honor Guard’s John Hopson.
The ceremony then ended as it began, with Martin closing the ceremony in prayer before the honor guard retired the colors and the crowd was dismissed.