By Faye Gaston
Special presentations were made at the Veterans Day Ceremony on November 11, 2019 at the Richard Stone Complex.
Appreciation of their service and sacrifice was made with the "Roll Call". Names of all veterans present were called by Col. (R) John C. Moody, Jr. Veterans stood as signature music for the five branches of military service, a musical tribute, was furnished by City Councilman Stan Cooks.
A memorial tribute to veterans was with two wreaths furnished by the Bullock County Historical Society and the Model Garden Club with remarks by Faye Gaston, a veterans's widow.
The wreaths were transported to the lawn of the Courthouse and placed by the military marker by County Commissioner Henry Barnettt.
Veterans Day Committee Chairman, Gene Nelson, shared a framed photograph of the late George Woodfaulk, the last known Bullock County World War II veteran who died this year at age 102. Family members posed for photos with this tribute. Bullock County Tourism Council president, Heather Klinck, presented the speaker, CM SGT (R) Janice Patrick, with an afghan that features several historical sites in Bullock County.
Pastor Gene Nelson, veteran and Chairman of the Veterans Day committee of fourteen, presided over the program. Councilman Stan Cooks provided the sound system and music of the prelude and postlude, chiming of the bells at 11:00 a.m., the songs "America the Beautiful" and "A Honor to Serve" and Taps.
Singing acappella were Terronda Hooks singing the National Anthem and Lela Brown singing "God Bless America".
The Bullock County High School JROTC did the posting of the colors with the flags and the retiring of the flags under the leadership of Col. (R) John C. Moody, Jr. The pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag was led by SGM (R) Jeffrey Ellis.
Pastor and veteran, Rev. Josh Powell, prayed the invocation, benediction and blessing of the hot dog lunch furnished by the Bell Cook Hopson Unit #337, American Legion Auxiliary.
Tourism Council president Heather Klinck announced the winners of posters and essay contests in five age groups of school students. She announced the winners of the Veterans Day displays in windows of downtown businesses with the Magazine Club in first place and the Green Thumb Garden Club in second place.
Speaking greetings were State Representative Berry Forte, Probate Judge James Tatum, Union Springs Mayor Saint T. Thomas, Jr, Midway Mayor Pro-Tem Roy Murray, and County Commissioner John McGowan.
Commissioner McGowan also gave "recognition of dignitaries" present. ALT NEC Jeffrey Gibson gave the "recognition to those left behind". SM SGT (R) Robert Patrick introduced the featured speaker, his wife, CM SGT (R) Janice Patrick who served 22 years in the Air Force.
She explained the definition of a veteran, with the conclusion that it is all who have worn the uniform of military service. She gave the history of the national Veterans Day holiday from the end of World War I to Armistice Day to then include all wars of America in 1954. She presented statistics of problems with returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan that include mental and physical health issues and unemployment.
Statistics included returning veterans who are homeless and who commit suicide. One year's statistics were 20 veterans committing suicide every day. She urged the sharing of career opportunities through military service and "eternal vigilance" to protect our country. She concluded with the statement that only two were willing to die for Americans, Jesus Christ and the American veteran.
The community supports Veterans Day. There were 26 supporters/contributors listed on the printed program who made this 2019 ceremony possible. The printed program stated that the Tourism Council of Bullock County, the American Legion Post 2016 and the Bullock County Extension presented this 25th Annual Bullock County Veterans Day Ceremony.
All present were give miniature American flags and material promoting membership in the American Legion.