By Kaitlyn Rigdon
Eleven rings resonated from the Union County courthouse bell marking the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I, which took place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
The annual Veterans Day program that is held by the American Legion Post 10 took place at the Union County Courthouse at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Veterans Day is about celebrating the service of all U.S. military veterans, past and present. It’s a day where everyone else puts veterans first, because veterans have always put everyone else before them.
Commander of the VFW Post 2413, George Fennell informed the crowd on two topics he receives the most questions about.
First, Fennell said that either the VFW or the American Legion can accept flags from families and use them to fly around the city. He said flags that were used during funeral services have been donated to them, and now fly at various places including the courthouse, schools, cemeteries, etc. “If you’ve got one, bring it by the American Legion or VFW and we’ll fly that flag for you. And if you request, we’ll let you know where it is,” Flennell said.
He also discussed what is needed for military funerals, stating every veteran needs a copy of their DD2-14 and to keep it where family members can easily access it in case of an emergency.
The American Legion was founded in 1919 as a veteran organization aimed to help veterans and their families by educating them on the benefits that they’ve earned through their service. “There is no way I could list or tell you all the programs American Legion offers veterans,” American Legion member Rockland “Rocky” Bale said. “I can tell you that belonging to the American Legion has been fulfilling for me and my family.”
Retired Army Colonel and El Dorado Mayor Frank Hash (above right) greets Army Sgt. First Class Thomas Grey, keynote speaker for the American Legion Post 10 Veterans Day program.
Keynote speaker of the program, Sergeant First Class Thomas Grey said putting veterans first also means supporting and caring for their families. “There are many
tangible ways to acknowledge their sacrifice, but the easiest is to simply say thank you for what you have done for our country,” Grey said. “As a nation, we should commit to serving our veterans as they have served us.”
Sgt. Grey also informed the crowd to watch for signs of depression with veterans that they know. “Twenty veterans a day take their own lives,” he said. “This is a tragedy to all Americans since so many of these veterans have never recovered from their invisible wounds they incurred while defending us.”
If signs are noticed, encourage them to seek help with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs immediately.
El Dorado Police Officer Gerid Ardwin closed the program by playing Taps. Lunch was provided for all attendees of the program at the American Legion Post 10.
Kaitlyn Rigdon can be reached at 870-862-6611 or krigdon@ eldoradonews.com.