Veterans honored in Brundidge

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2003

Blessed. That one word sums up SFC Charlie Dunn's feelings toward his military service, the country in which he lives and life itself.

Dunn, a retired veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam, was the featured speaker at the Salute to Veterans in Brundidge Friday night. He said he was blessed to be able to serve his country, blessed to live in a country were freedom rings and blessed to have come home from war when so many didn't.

"It's a blessing to be a citizen of the United States of America, the greatest nation in the world," Dunn said. "We have privileges and freedoms that others don't have. We are the envy of many people in other parts of the world. These freedoms were won and preserved for us by veterans of many wars."

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Dunn called the Salute to Veterans "our night" and asked veterans to stand and be recognized.

"We are being honored here tonight," he said. "It's our night, but there are men and women who are still involved in a unusual war. I was in Brundidge when the National Guard was deployed and later in Troy. It saddened me because I knew what they might have to face because I've been there. But at the same time, I was so proud to know that so many men and women are ready to answer the call to serve their country. That makes me most proud."

Dunn said when he has an opportunity to address those who are going off in service to their country, he tells them that the United States military is the best equipped, best trained, best fed and best paid military in the world.

"I never doubt that our troops can accomplish any mission before them," he said.

Dunn ended with a verbal salute in the languages of countries that Americans have fought against and died - Japanese, German, Korean and Vietnamese. The English translation was

"I love you."

A wreath was placed at the Veterans Memorial in memory of deceased veterans by Dorothy Jinright, American Legion Post No. 70 Auxiliary, and Charlie's Angels.

Special music was presented by Malinda Barbaree and Kerri Taylor. Patriotic readings were presented by Scott Flowers, American Legion Post No. 70, and Vicky Brown, veterans administrative assistant/Pike County.

Flowers read "The Sullivan Vallou Letter" and Brown read "Old Glory."

Veterans and members of the audience participated in a candlelight ceremony in memory of deceased veterans and in honor of those who have served and with prayerful remembrance of those who continue to serve.

"We always hold those who are serving their country in our prayers," said Randy Ross, veterans affairs officer for Pike County. "We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude that can never fully be repaid. Many of them paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We can not forget them or what they did."