MEIGS COUNTY — “Freedom isn’t free.”
That was the message of many of the speakers throughout Meigs County on Friday morning during several Veterans Day ceremonies and programs.
From the playing of patriotic music by the Southern Marching Band to the singing of songs by students of all ages at Meigs Intermediate, students showed their American pride and the appreciation for those who have served and are serving.
As has been tradition at Southern Local, one veteran is recognized during the Veterans Day program each year. This year’s honoree was Tom Wolfe. Wolfe is a 1948 graduate of Racine High School and enlisted in the Air Force in 1951. He was honorably discharged in 1955.
Following the presentation to Wolfe by fellow-veteran Supt. Tony Deem, the names of military members killed in battle were read as the bell tolled and candles were extinguished.
Chuck Mugrage served as the guest speaker for the program at Southern. Mugrage explained the students the qualities of a veteran, as well as explaining the significance of the day.
Military members are “called to be something bigger than themselves,” said Mugrage of those called to serve their country.
During the ceremony on the Pomeroy levy at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, Lt. Col. Brent L. Clark spoke the crowd about the history of Veterans Day, which was once called Armistice Day.
Clark stated that Veterans Day is set aside to honor all who have served, past and present, making it different than Memorial Day which is primarily to honor those who died in service of their country.
Answering the question, “What is a veteran?” Clark named several things that could be added to the definition. By definition, a veteran is someone who served in the military, but there is more to that definition. A veteran is a servant, said Clark, someone who answers the call, is a volunteer and a protector of freedom.
Veterans often do not like recognition, said Clark. He went on to explain how an individual could recognize a veteran.
Show respect for their service; say thank you; listen to their words of wisdom and stories; and prepare care packages for those serving or those who have served, were some of the way highlighted by Clark.
Like Clark, his wife, Amanda is also a retired Lt. Col., while their two sons and son-in-law have either served in the military or are currently serving.
As part of the program in Pomeroy, Gladys Cummings told of Flanders Fields, while Jerry Fredrick spoke of the Ragged old Flag.
At Meigs Intermediate School, Dewey Smith of American Legion Post 128 told the students about the “hallowed ground” symbolized by the space between the two flags when the colors are posted.
Smith went on to explain to the students that once you are a soldier you are always a soldier, even after their active duty ends.
“All veterans have given something; some gave all,” said Smith. He concluded by asking the students and others in attendance to reflect on the blessing of freedom and what it means to them and other.