At 11:11 on 11-11 (Friday) Ken Applegate, SOMC Human Resources, stepped to the microphone in the lobby of Southern Ohio Medical Center and began the SOMC Veterans Day Celebration,
“Today we honor the people who have made America the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Applegate told the assembled crowd.
Larry Moore, of SOMC Pastoral care, led those present in a prayer, and Ben Gill of the SOMC Administration led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Sam McKibben, retired Air Force veteran, was the main speaker, and before he spoke, he told the Daily Times what Veterans Day is about.
“I will talk about the World War II, Korea, Vietnam veterans who are still living,” McKibben said. “I met with a couple of them this week – my neighbor, Herman Ison and another neighbor Lindsey Hedrick, the last two World War II guys I know personally. We’re losing them (World War II veterans) fast. Those guys and gals saved our bacon in World War II.”
McKibben said the opportunity to be a part of such a celebration is why he serves on the Scioto County Veterans Service Commission.
“We’re a military country,” McKibben said. “We’re a military community and as long as the flag waves we have to keep on doing that.”
Earlier in the hour, a huge crowd, including large number of students, gathered at Tracy Park in Portsmouth to hear Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware talk about the need to pass along the tradition of honoring veterans to the next generation and the importance of knowing the diverse people who have served the U.S. in military uniform.
“I want to talk about what these young people can do for this country,” Ware said. “Freedom is not free. It must be protected. Our nation remains strong because of our armed forces.”
Ware said today there are over 22 million veterans in the United States – approximately seven percent of the population.
“This is the day we take the day to honor those who have made sacrifices and endured hardships so that freedom and Democracy can endure, and this great nation can endure ,” Ware told the Times. “We’re at a time where we have some internal strife, but we also face a lot of external threats. It’s very important that we have a strong military, a strong defense.”
Ware noted this nation is defended by an all-volunteer military.
“We need men and women to step up and answer that call to duty,” Ware said. “At the same time, we need to recognize the sacrifices and hardships that they go through in order to do that, so that maybe the next generation doesn’t have to.”
In 1918 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, World War I officially ended. President Woodrow Wilson declared Nov. 11 as Armistice Day. In 1938 legislation was passed making Nov. 11 a day dedicated to the cause of world peace. In 1954 that name was changed to Veterans Day.
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