POMEROY — At the 11th hour of the 11th day or the 11th month, veterans, members of the American Legion and community members gathered on the Pomeroy Levee to celebrate Veterans Day.
American Legion Post 39’s own Steve VanMeter, a Marine, spoke to those in attendance about Veterans Day and the importance of respecting the American Flag, National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.
“It is more than just words, a piece of cloth and a song,” said VanMeter of the Pledge, Flag and Anthem, noting that all deserve respect.
Soldiers do more than fight wars, said VanMeter. He detailed examples such as helping with the war on drugs, protecting border, land and seas.
VanMeter spoke of the many things the Legion is involved in throughout the year, noting the most important is the Honor Guard for their fallen comrades.
The local American Legion is involved with Boys State, Girls State, the Americanism test and school programs, among many other things. Additionally, each Memorial Day, Post 39 places 1,000 flags on the graves of veterans.
The Honor Guard, stated VanMeter, is the most important as it is burying their fallen comrades, taking the flag from the flag-draped coffin, folding it and giving it to a family member. This is followed by the 21-gun salute and the playing of taps. “It means a lot to us and it means a lot to the family,” said VanMeter.
“Freedom don’t come free,” said VanMeter, noting the number of soldiers killed and/or wounded in conflicts and wars in the past century.
The men and women who serve are not the only ones who sacrifice, added VanMeter, making mention of the parents, spouses, children, other relatives and friends of service members who should be thanked as well.
American Legion Post 39 Commander John Hood welcomed those in attendance for the event, making special mention of World War II veteran Bill King.
As is tradition, Gladys Cummings, who has a long history of military service in her family, read the poem In Flanders Field. The poem is one of the most famous war memorial poems and was authored by Lt. Col. John McCrae in May 1915.
Jerry Fredrick, who also opened the celebration with prayer, read the words to the Johnny Cash song “The Ragged Old Flag.”
Legionnaire James Stewart placed a wreath in the river to honor Navy veterans before the 21-gun salute took place.
The Southern High School Marching Band, under the direction of Chad Dodson, played the National Anthem, along with a series of patriotic songs, before concluding the event with the playing of taps.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.