Veterans honored and remembered at county events
Annual events took place once again this year around Jefferson County as Veterans were honored Tuesday. The Treaty of Versailles between the Allies and Germany was signed to end World War I, the Great War, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November, 1918.
The Bolivar-Harpers Ferry District Veterans once again hosted their annual parade on Washington Street in Bolivar as the participants made their way from the post office to Harpers Ferry Middle School. Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and members of the American Heritage Girls joined in the festivities along with the middle school band who leads the parade each year, the town mayors of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry and the Veterans.
Guest speaker for the day was Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) George J. Morris, who serves as an Aerospace Science instructor at Jefferson High School in the Junior Reserve Office Training Corps program. Morris spoke to the gathering on the lawn at Harpers Ferry Middle School about Veterans who have sacrificed for the country.
“Our nation’s Veterans, past and present, have served gallantly and deserve our sincere and abiding respect,” Morris said.
“Some have given the ultimate sacrifice, to whom our debt can never be repaid,” Morris spoke. “Others have suffered physical and psychological wounds but inspire us with their tenacity and character.” Morris went on to say that many who have served in our nation’s military now serve in their community as leaders, teachers, public servants, sharing their unique experience and skillsets.
He called for the community, all Americans, to honor those who donned the uniform and sacrficed their own joys of life, missing special moments.
He quoted President John F. Kennedy, saying “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is to not utter words…but to live by them.”
Following the Harpers Ferry event, members of that Veteran’s Group traveled to Charles Town where they served as the Color Guard at the celebration at Jefferson Memorial Park’s Veteran’s Memorial.
Wreaths were laid by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3522 and Auxiliary, American Legion Post 71 and Auxiliary, Daughters of the American Revolution, Beeline Chapter and the Jefferson Air Force JROTC
Speaking at the Charles Town ceremony, James K. Ruland, Commander, United States Navy (Ret.) had members of the audience recite the oath all soldiers take when joining the military.
“With these solemn words, each of us, like so many before us, set off on our individual journeys, full of anticipation and adventure, into the worlds of boot camps, duty assignments and, too often, war,” Ruland said.
“Not everyone was thrilled to be there,” he said. “But we all lived by a code and dedicated ourselves to the demanding standards of discipline, loyalty and faithfulness to duty.”
Ruland shared how military service helps reshape individuals, himself included.
“It helped form in us priorities and commitments that would last for a lifetime. Every person who has ever put on the uniform has felt that special sense of responsibility.”
Ruland concluded by encouraging everyone, young and old, to take the time to thank a Veteran for their service.
“They will look at you and smile,” he said, “and in their hearts they wil lknow that whatever sacrifices they made, they were worth it.”