Residents salute veterans

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Piggott residents gathered Tuesday morning like most Americans, remembering military personnel, past and present, in observing Veterans Day.

Members of Veterans of Foreign War Post 4517 and American Legion Post 38, and others participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Veterans Memorial at the Clay County Courthouse.

Charles Crafton, vice commander of American Legion Post 38, VFW Ladies Auxiliary President Rose Craft and Edward Thompson, commander of VFW Post 4517, placed the wreath.

Bobby D. Hoggard, a member of the VFW Post 4517, told the gathering in front of the courthouse Americans need to always remember veterans.

"Today we honor and salute all of the many American veterans who throughout our histry have unselfishly placed their lives on the line for freedom," said Hoggard. "On every Veterans Day, we remember our veterans from War World I who died on the battleground in Europe.

"Originally called 'Armistice Day', this day was conceived as a tribute to the Americans who sacrificed their lives in that war. The veterans remaining from this period should be proud of their service.

"We also honor our veterans from every period of peace as well, for they protect what our war veterans fought and died to defend," he said. "American veterans represent all races and ethnic groups.

"We are men and women. We are of every creed, belief and physical description. We are your neighbor next door, the owner of the grocery store and the fireman saving lives.

"We are the 25 million Americans living today who have proudly worn our country's military uniform," said Hoggard. "And we are the more than one million who have died defending the United States.

"Some of these veterans are famous heroes who have received a great deal of honors and publicity. Most are not. Most are just ordinary citizens who answered the call to duty when it came.

"Duty to their country took them from the safety of their homes and families and often led them to the hardship and dangers of war. Today, let us say to all veterans, especially our Korean War veterans during the 50th anniversary commemoration and Vietnam veterans remembering the 20th anniversary of the 'Wall',and also the ones now in harm's way, we're a grateful country and we appreciate your sacrifices."

The American Legion and VFW posts, along with the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, hosted a luncheon for veterans and their families at the War Memorial Building after the ceremony at the courthouse.

"This is a special day, a tribute to our veterans," said State Rep. Travis Boyd, D-Piggott. "We need to remember the sacrifice of veterans in past wars. We also need to pray for the men and women fighting today on foreign soil.

"The fighting might have been declared over, but the attacks continue. We need to pray not only for our troops, but for our leaders and that it (Operation Iraqi Freedom) will be over soon."

County Judge Gary Howell and Piggott Mayor Gerald Morris also spoke of sacrifice by veterans.

"Today is a special day and my heart goes out to all of the veterans," said Morris. "We need to especially remember the ones serving today."

Ronne Cale, county sheriff, said he woke up early Tuesday morning, thinking of his father who served in War World II.

"I appreciate all of the veterans, and my father, who was in the Pacific," said Cale. "We have troops in Iraq, and I feel not only for them, but their families.

"People complain about our government, but it's still the best in the world, even though it's not perfect."

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