CELEBRATING SERVICEPublished 6:19pm Monday, November 11, 2013
Pike County honors veterans
BY JEB SHARP, JAINE TREADWELL and ROBBYN BROOKS
Veterans were honored countywide for their service and sacrifice for Pike County and the United States on Monday.
In Troy, the day began with a breakfast where Troy University students served veterans and distinguished guests as a tribute to the community’s military service members.
Ira Brown, who retired from the U.S. Army in 2005, was the guest speaker at the event hosted at the Colley Complex.
“When you take a look back and reflect on Veterans Day at all that veterans have given to this country just to maintain freedom and democracy, it’s overwhelming,” Brown shared. “As a veteran, it is nice to be able to come together with other men and women who have served.”
Brown, a native of Brewton, served in Texas, Germany and Korea. He now works as a maintenance supervisor at Ft. Rucker.
As the sun warmed once chilly morning temperatures Monday, community members and veterans gathered at Bicentennial Park in Troy for an annual memorial service.
The city of Troy held its annual Veterans Day memorial service this Monday morning at Bicentennial Park.
While all veterans were honored during the ceremony, veterans from WWII were singled out for their service.
Troy Mayor Jason Reeves welcomed everyone to the ceremony and thanked the veterans for their service. “We take today to recognize our veterans, but every single day we have we owe to a veteran,” Reeves said. “Every day should be Veterans Day. Thank you for all that you do. Your service grants us the ability to have a community.”
Melanie Barnes then entertained the crowd with a musical medley of songs from WWII.
Bill Jackson served as the keynote speaker for the service. Jackson served as a combat pilot in both WWII and Korea. He reminded those present to thank veterans while they still have the opportunity. “Today, Veterans Day no longer draws large crowds like it used to,” Jackson said. “Veterans Day is still for remembering and respecting America’s more than 20 million living veterans. It is our duty to honor the sacrifices of those who can’t be here today. Our WWII veterans need to be honored now before it is too late.”
He left the audience with a charge to show their gratitude. “When you leave here today, go find a veteran and shake his hand.”
During the service, Katie Hale, president of American Legion Unit 70 Ladies Auxiliary, placed a memorial wreath for veterans who had passed away in the past year.
Three American flags were posted to the avenue of flags in honor of Curry Jordan, WWII, Steven Brockton, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Billy Graham Carroll.
Brundidge was home to several events Monday, as well.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7055 honored Howell and Jean Skeen and Daniel Goolsby for their patriotism and community pride at the annual Veterans Day programs at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library and Elam Cemetery on Monday.
Henry Middlebrooks, Post commander, said the Skeens continually display the American Flag at their Brundidge business, Skeen Funeral Home.
“The American Flag always flies as a constant reminder of those who have served and those who continue to serve,” Middlebrooks said. “Post 7055 wanted to show our appreciation to the Skeens for their patriotism.”
Howell Skeen said he is so thankful for the many Americans who had dedicated themselves to service to their country.
“Then and right now, soldiers are giving their lives for our country,” he said. “Flying the American Flag let’s them know their service is appreciated.”
Jean Skeen said that she was so honored by the recognition that “I could just cry.”
“We can never be thankful enough for the service of our veterans and those that are serving,” she said. “You can’t put a price on freedom. Words can’t express my appreciation. I am humbled.”
VFW Post 7055 placed a wreath at the Veterans Memorial at the public library as both a memorial and a tribute.
“On Veterans Day, we celebrate the service of our veterans but we should not honor them just one day out of the year,” Middlebrooks said. “Every time we see a veteran we should thank them for their service and we should thank their families. Veterans leave their families behind and that’s a hardship on the families. And, when veterans come home, they often can’t share what they went through and their families can’t understand and times are difficult. The families in the rear should be honored because of their sacrifice. Let’s honor them all, every day.”
VFW Post 7055 also conducted the Veterans Day Program at Elam Cemetery at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
At the Elam Cemetery Veterans Memorial, the Post honored Goolsby for his continued patriotism. As a corpsman with the U.S. Navy, Goolsby was connected with three branches of the military and served during three wars, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
Goolsby said that he was honored to served his country and his fellow soldiers.
“It’s an honor to be an American and a great honor to serve,” he said.
“I appreciate this recognition. It is my privilege to continue honoring America.”