POMEROY — Veterans and local residents gathered Monday at the Pomeroy levee for a special Veterans Day program held by American Legion Post #39.
Commander John Hood welcomed guest speaker Jim Collins.
Collins is active is a lifelong member of American Legion Post 371, VFW 9893, AMVETS Post 76 as well as a member of several other military focused organizations. He has served with the American Legion for the past 31 years and is currently serving the eighth district as a finance officer. Collins served in the United States Air Force security service from December of 1968 to December of 1972 as an administrative specialist and was honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served in Turkey for 18 months and spent two years in Okinawa during the Vietnam War.
“I am honored to share this Veterans Day with all of you,” said Collins. “This area is well-known for its support for veterans…we gather at events like this to honor not just recent generations of veterans, but every man and woman who has honorably served since the American Revolution.”
Collins shared his experience when he attended an event for the 100th anniversary of the American Legion as well as a few other stories.
He spoke on a letter found by a sheriff in Wisconsin, Jim Johnson, who is a veteran. One day when Johnson was going through his memorabilia of letters, he found a letter addressed as “Dear Soldiers.” This letter was written by a fourth grader who just so happened to be one of his current deputies at his sheriff’s office.
Johnson stated in the Wisconsin Legion Newspaper, “We need to realize the positive impact we can have on the lives of others, my coincidence also illustrates how small our world really is.”
Collins then shared the significance of Veterans Day 2018.
“It was 100 years ago at 11 a.m. on 11/11, that’s Nov. 11, 1918, when the armistice began which ended World War 1, “said Collins. “It was a conflict so bloody and horrific that many optimistically referred to it as the ‘war to end all wars’ as we often heard it referred, sadly we know it wasn’t. It was that war that lead to the founding of our organization, The American Legion.”
Collins discussed how the American Legion has aided all veterans through the years, explained how hiring a veteran for work is one of the best ways to help a veteran, and spoke on experiences of wounded veteran and purple heart recipient Raina Hockenberry, senior chief personnel specialist of the United States Navy.
“America is fortunate to have millions of brave men and women stand for freedom since our country’s founding,” said Collins. “We owe it to them all for their service and sacrifice and it is always remembered. We also remember their families who sacrifice time for their loved ones, performing a disproportionate share of household responsibilities and often have to make difficult educational and career adjustments due to the frequent address changes. Military life is not like the private sector.”
Collins closed by thanking and blessing all of the U.S. veterans.
Commander Hood gave the welcome and members of the American Legion Post #39 performed a 21-gun salute. The Southern High School Marching Band performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” as well as other patriotic medleys. JoAnne Newsome, chairwoman of the Ladies Auxiliary, presented a reading of “In Flanders Fields” and Jerry Fredrick presented a reading of “This Old Ragged Flag.”
After the program, the legion members held a holiday dinner open to the public at the legion hall.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.