Honoring Our Veterans
I know I’m a day late on Veterans Day, but I did want to take a chance to express the pride I felt in my small town of Carterville over the weekend. There were three days of honoring veterans in our community, including a luncheon by the students and staff at the junior high school and two other events I witnessed first hand.
Friday night my family headed up to Carterville High School for the annual Meet the Lions: Winter Edition. This is a time when fans can see the teams for all winter activities. There’s a dinner beforehand (a fundraiser for the Carterville Athletic Boosters). Much to our delight, veterans were admitted to the dinner for free. My dad, who served in the United States Army after graduating high school, was with us. He was given a patriotic ribbon to wear in addition to the complimentary meal.
Before the team introductions started, the man on the loudspeaker asked all veterans to come to center court. My dad is extremely shy and doesn’t want to have any kind of spotlight placed on him. He didn’t want to go down to the court, but my mom, wife and I all told him he had to. He finally made his way down, his face as bright red as the ribbon on his shirt. Then the young athletes walked the line and shook the hand of each veteran standing there. It was a very impressive sight as everyone in the stands stood on their feet and cheered. You could tell it meant a lot to the men and women being honored too.
The next day my wife and I took my dad to the Carterville Veterans Day ceremony. There is a very impressive memorial in the downtown area. The fire department blocked the usually busy street with a ladder truck. The American flag hung from the ladder as it blew in the wind, setting a breathtaking background for the ceremony, which included words from Congressman Mike Bost and Vice Admiral Nancy Brown.
The John A. Logan #347 Carterville American Legion Post put on this ceremony. The group, which includes my friend Tom Harness, raised and lowered the colors and did a rifle salute. The stories told, the ceremony itself and the show of support made for a perfect Veterans Day. It was the topper of an excellent weekend. Thank you to all who serve or continue to do so and to all of those who took time to remember and recognize the service. I know this was just one of many events around the region honoring our veterans. Thank you all.
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