By AMANDA ARNOLD
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Sunday is known as the day of rest, but various Southern Indiana organizations were working hard last weekend to honor veterans.
With about 550,000 veterans in Indiana, Nov. 11 continues to be a day of honor. Thanks to cooperative weather, various communities were able to enjoy the annual tradition of honoring those who have served on Veterans Day. On Sunday, Jeffersonville and New Albany held ceremonies.
Indiana State Rep. Ed Clere gave thanks and honor to our nation’s veterans during the annual Veterans Day Service on Market Street in New Albany.
“We should all thankful for what the election signifies, and I’m not talking about the significance of any particular political win or loss, I am talking about the significance of a free and fair election,” Clere said. “Without fear and without intimidation, we Americans went to the polls and cast our ballot of the candidate of our choosing,” Clere said before he read “It Was a Soldier,” by Charles M. Province.
Part of Province’s poem reads: “ ... it is the soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag ...”
As the poem was completed, Clere reminded the 200 people who attended to thank veterans for the freedoms Americans have, because while government benefits, dining discounts and signs for vets are a thank you, community members must remember to give personal honor.
New Albany held its annual “Remembering Wreaths” event, where 35 wreaths were placed at the Veterans Plaza on Market Street. Some of the organizations that placed wreaths were the American Legion posts, Lions Club of New Albany, Civil War Round Table and the NJORTC of New Albany High School and Floyd Central.
Mark S. Owens of VFW Post 3281, explained that he placed a wreath in honor of all veterans.
Nelson Stone served 4 1/2 years in the Army, and he and his wife Pat attend the Veterans Day Service every year. He described his wife as part of the Army, too, because she joined him when he was stationed in Hawaii.
“This is great, and is always a great service,” said Stone.
The event concluded with an emotional, tear-producing rendition of taps, played by bugler Bill Miller.
The American Legion Posts and VFW Posts continue to be active and looking for members.
“We do good work. We are all volunteers, and we need your help,” said Past Commander Jim Dexter. “Any veteran out there with history in combat can join any post in New Albany, Jeffersonville or Clarksville, so please do so. We need the younger generation to step up.”
Jeffersonville recognized Veterans Day on Sunday as well, but this year was special because it also served as the official dedication of the new Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial. While all veterans were honored during the service, the 20,000-pound granite memorial was dedicated to honor veterans of recent wars of Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war in Afghanistan.
State Sen. Ron Grooms presented a special dedication of the memorial and the significance of the words “country,” “duty” and “honor.” As he explained, it is a soldier’s duty to serve our nation, and it is our duty to remember our veterans and continue to honor them for what they do.
Michael Liechty, Lt. Col. United States Air Force, retired, also spoke and shared his experienced of serving alongside his son, Capt. Jan Liechty, who came up from Nashville to listen to his dad. His cousin David Dayton, who is stationed in Montgomery, Ala., also joined him for the dedication ceremony.
The service in Jeffersonville was complete with the bagpipes played by Mary Kramer and singing by Shirley Sweatt. Just like in New Albany, the playing of “Amazing Grace” brought a tearful and honoring audience.
Free meals in honor of Veterans Day have been held Sunday and Monday. This evening, Nov. 13, the American Legion Bonnie Sloan Post 28 on Grant Line Road will hold a meal with guest speaker Heather French Henry. For more information regarding that, visit bonniesloanpost28.org or call 812-945-1944