Program honors vets and service members

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, November 11, 2008

FRANKLIN—Residents of the Village at Woods Edge celebrated Veterans Day on Tuesday by holding a commemorative program dedicated to those who have served the United States and those who continue to serve in the armed forces.

At the program, Franklin Fire Chief Vince Holt, a former Air Force firefighter and a member of the Air Force Reserves, spoke to the group about the day’s importance.

“We set aside this day to celebrate those who have fought to protect the many freedoms we take for granted,” Holt said. “The freedoms we enjoy did not come without sacrifices.”

Holt emphasized remembering all veterans, including those still in active duty. He shared personal stories about his experiences in the Air Force and the experiences of his two children who are currently in the armed forces.

“Any man or woman, in any branch, who has have given service to their country can feel honored today,” Holt said.

He continued that the service of previous veterans made active-duty service possible.

“Your service gave me the opportunity to serve and continues to give others the opportunity to serve,” Holt said.

Holt also recognized military spouses and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis.

“We have the veterans that wear the uniform, but we also have their spouses who don’t wear a uniform,” Holt said. “They share the sacrifices, too.”

Holt urged the audience to remember that, even in times of peace, it is important to remember those who serve. He remembered the motto of the base he served at in England more than 20 years ago—“our mission in peacetime is to train for war”—and recounted what he first thought about when he saw it.

“Even though we were at peace then,” he said, “I also knew it could change at a moment’s notice and I could only imagine what was going on in the minds of soldiers, when they were in England, training for the D-Day invasion.”

During the program, 24 Village residents were recognized for their service in wars such as World War II and the Korean War. Sgt. 1st Class Scott Culpepper, Chief Navy Diver Scott Maynard, Chief James Schuermann and Britton Culpepper, members of the active-duty community, attended and also were recognized at the meeting.

Billie Turner, one of the program’s coordinators, noted having active-duty military attend the meeting allowed “residents the opportunity to personally say thank you.”

More than 60 residents attended the program and tears flowed while the group sang the national anthem and listened to Holt speak.

Attendees had praise for the speaker and those who put the program together.

“It was a superb program,” World War II veteran Richard Tucker said. “The powers that be deserve a lot of credit for putting it together.”

Many veterans took the opportunity to reminisce after the program. For WWII veteran Thomas Jones, the day coincides with the anniversary of a very memorable event in his military career.

“It was on Nov. 11 that the ship I was on [during WWII] was torpedoed by a submarine,” Jones explained. “It’s things like that that make you stand up and pay attention to this date.”