The city of Richmond Hill held its annual Veterans Day Observance event to salute the past and present members of the United States armed forces. Residents and city and county officials alike came to pay their respects.
The event followed recent Veterans Day commemorations at local schools. It included a panel of speakers and also utilized the park’s veterans monument, which played host to a wreath laying ceremony by Richmond Hill Mayor Richard Davis and 3rd ID Col. Thomas Vandal. The two then signaled a salute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while bugle player/Richmond Hill police officer Tim Saia played "Taps".
Among the speakers at the event were Davis, Philip Wolfe with the American Legion, Paul Spence with Vietnam Vets of America, Jonathan Dejesus with Veterans of Foreign Wars and Pastor Steve Lane.
Richmond Hill resident Vicki Leahy kicked things off with the National Anthem as the 3rd ID color guard placed flags near the stage.
Davis said there are about 24 million American veterans alive today. He said he is eternally grateful for their loyalty to this country and offered "a salute from an indebted American and a grateful Mayor." He also said the city is planning to reach out to all the World War II veterans living here, with plans of throwing them a party inside J.F. Gregory Park as a token of appreciation.
"We probably say thank you a dozen times a day, but how do you say thank you to someone who saves the world," Wolfe said.
Wolfe said people should express gratitude to those who served in any way they can.
"When an Airman turned job applicant sits across from you in a job interview, weigh that experience just a lit bit heavier. When an American Legion Auxiliary member asks for a donation, remember that Korean War veteran lying in a hospital bed. And when a member of our Congress complains about the cost of a veteran’s program, remind the lawmaker of the cost of being a veteran," Wolfe said.
Spence spoke of how fortunate he is to be a veteran living in the military community of Hinesville-Richmond Hill.
"These (current enlisted military) are our guys – our buddies," Spence said. "And I’m shown everyday that I am not alone in the pride I feel for these men. This is the most caring and most fulfilling community I’ve ever been in."
Col. Vandal chronicled many of the recent victories the 3rd ID have claimed and also expressed his gratitude for the pride that is displayed in this community. He challenged everyone in attendance to go out of their way and approach and thank someone who has served in the US military.