2017-11-13 / Local News

Veterans celebrated Saturday with parade, ceremony

By SCOTT POWELL
Ledger Staff Writer

Cherokee County students and community members took a few moments Saturday to celebrate veterans.

The county’s Veterans Day ceremony this year fell on Nov. 11, the same day Americans have honored troops annually for their military service since 1919. It’s a day of celebration to honor veterans for their love of country, their patriotism, and willingness to sacrifice and serve for freedom.

Gaffney High students Bailey Duncan, Kaitlyn Wilkins, Hunter Bullock and Latoya Jefferies served as the guest speakers. Each read essays about the meaning behind Veterans Day.

“Veteran Day is a day that America celebrates the troops that have served in the military,” Wilkins wrote in her essay. “Without those veterans, we (America) would not be where we are in life today. I would like to follow in the footsteps of my family members who have served in the military who are now retired. Seeing them accomplish so many things while in the military has greatly caught my attention on what I want to be in life.”

The Veterans Day program has been held annually at the Cherokee County Veterans Appreciation Park since 2010. This year’s program featured performances by Blacksburg High Brass Ensemble, Gaffney High Honor Choir, and a flag ceremony by Gaffney High Air Force JROTC to salute local veterans from each military branch.

Cherokee County Veterans Affairs Officer Todd Humphries selected the student guest speakers based on essays done for a fall project-based learning activity in English III honors teacher Kristie Camp’s class.

Camp’s father was drafted into the military and served in Vietnam in 1971 and 1972. She was inspired to have her students help local veterans after reading “The Things They Carried” book by Vietnam War veteran Tim O’Brien.

“It’s a powerful book about the experiences of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam,” Camp said. “It was like the good Lord put this project together as a way to let my students learn more about our veterans.”

A sign at the entrance to the county veterans park in- spires reflections about the high personal cost of military service with the phrase, “All gave some, some gave all. ”

More than 12,000 names are engraved on granite park walls inside the veterans park. The park was created by county veteran organizations to serve as a living monument to honor all past and future veterans called to military service.

“You protect me. You bring honor to this country. You left behind your family multiple times so I could always remain with mine,” Bullock wrote in a poem about veterans. “You left behind your possessions so I could continue to have mine. You left behind the life you knew to protect me. You protect me. To God be the Glory. I pray for your safety in battle. I pray for your protection during combat. I pray for your safe return home. I pray for you because you protect me.”

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