Thompson speaks at Colley breakfast

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 12, 2009

LTC Garry Thompson is admittedly the biggest Ohio State football fan in the country – or at least in Alabama. So he used the words of legendary Buckeye football coach Woody Hayes to offer guidance as to how to repay America’s veterans for their service and sacrifice.

“Woody Hayes said that you can never pay back, you can only pay forward,” Thompson said. “That’s what we must do. Pay forward.”

Thompson, battalion commander, 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment, Fort Rucker, was the guest speaker at the 10th annual Veterans Day Breakfast Wednesday. The breakfast is sponsored by the Colley Senior Complex.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I’m humbled to be in the presence of all you veterans,” he said “You have gone whenever and wherever to carry the torch of liberty. Your calling was a noble one and I am in awe of what you have done.”

Since Woodrow Wilson instituted a Day of Remembrance in 1919, the scope of war has changed. However all of those who have fought and served have a place in the nation’s history, which is one “of courage, decency and shining hope in a world of darkness.”

“At this time, the United States has boots on the ground in 120 countries,” Thompson said. “We have 25 million veterans walking among us. While that seems like a lot, when you consider that there are 308 million Americans, it’s only a very small percentage.”

On Veterans Day 2009, Thompson said it is also important to remember those who are serving around the world protecting and preserving the freedoms that Americans enjoy.

“Our military is the best trained, best led and most capable military in the world,” he said. “Our military is the most respected institution in the country. The men and women in today’s military are adding to the rich history that has been recorded by the veterans of all pervious wars. The grandsons and granddaughters of the members of the Greatest Generation who were called to arms during World War II are now fighting the war on terrorism.”

Thompson remembered several members of the military who willingly gave their lives for their comrades.

“They were not seeking fame,” he said. “Their acts were simply patriot responses. They are the unsung heroes of the war on terrorism. They had to be brave for us.”

Randy Ross, Pike County Veterans Affairs officer, was the program emcee. Opening remarks were by Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford and the invocation was given by the Rev. George Gilchrist.

The colors were posted by Charlie’s Angels with special music by Shelia Jackson, Haley Jackson and the Heart of Dixie Barbershop Chorus.

Janet Motes, Center director, closed the program with words of appreciation to the veterans.

“You have done so much for our country and I have done nothing,” she said. “Thank you. Thank you.”