Veterans Day was officially Sunday, and residents on both ends of Bryan County took time to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed much of their lives in service to the country throughout the weekend and beginning of the week.
Celebrations began Saturday in Pembroke when about 50 members of the community gathered downtown for a ceremony that included prayer, song, speakers and three flag dedications. Observances continued Monday in Richmond Hill with the Capt. Matthew Freeman 5K Run for Peace and the city’s annual ceremony in J.F. Gregory Park.
On Saturday, flags were dedicated in memory of W. J. Butler and Orin Williams for their service in Vietnam and Hubert R. Lee for his service in World War II.
Butler’s wife, Barbara, attended the service with her grandson, William Butler. Both said they thought the service was nice and enjoyed the flag dedication most.
“I thought it was wonderful and it was beautiful, it is such a nice memory,” Barbara Butler said.
Butler said it had been 16 months since her husband passed, but she knew he would have enjoyed the ceremony.
“He would have enjoyed it,” she said. “He was very much a family man and a community person. He was greatly missed when he was gone.”
On the southern end of the county, about 100 residents gathered under the oak trees of J.F. Gregory Park to pay tribute to veterans on Monday during the city of Richmond Hill’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.
Members of the 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart played a role in the ceremony by posting the colors, performing a 21-gun salute and giving community members tours of military equipment. The ceremony also included several guest speakers, song, prayer and more.
Mayor Harold Fowler thanked the community for attending, and said how important it was to him to pay homage to those who have served.
“As we commemorate this day of reverence and respect, let us also remember this unity of spirit that has guided our nation forward from its beginning,” Fowler said. “No words can repay the debt of gratitude we owe to the men and women who have stood up for freedom, and we can honor the memory of our veterans best by remaining the best kind of Americans we can be and keeping our nation strong and secure.”
Guest speakers included Lee Brown from the American Legion, Anna Parodi with Veterans of Foreign wars and Paul Spence with Vietnam Veterans of America.
Keynote speaker Maj. Julie D’Annunzio, 2nd Brigade Troops Battalion commander at Fort Stewart, shared some insight on what it’s like to be a soldier and a veteran.
Read more in the Nov. 14 edition of the News.
For more photos from the Richmond Hill ceremony, go to http://community.bryancountynews.net/gallery/detail/579/
For more photos from the Pembroke ceremony, go to http://community.bryancountynews.net/gallery/detail/577/