Veterans Day traditions continue

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

At 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 an “unknown soldier” was buried at Westminster Abbey in England and at the Arc de Triomphe in France.

The gesture marked the end of World War I and became known as Armistice Day.

The United States followed suit in 1921, burying a soldier whose name was “known but to God” in Virginia overlooking the Potomac River

To this day Nov, 11 is the day when Americans take time to honor and thank its military personnel, past and present, living and dead. It was officially named Veterans Day in 1954.

One way Henry County honors its veterans is with a program at Henry County High School presented by the Air Force Junior ROTC and the Student Council.

Student Council representatives greet veterans at the door with poppies.

Poppies were chosen as a symbol of remembrance after they grew in abundance on the graves of soldiers killed on the Western Front during World War I.

Background music complements the sense of the occasion from tunes of mourning such as “Where Have all the Flowers Gone” to the rallying spirit of a Sousa march.

The program will be kicked off by state representative Rick Rand’s reading of a tribute poem written by Joanna Fuchs.

Each year, Air Force Junior ROTC members present a precision military program and, along with Student Council members, award medals to all veterans who are present. This year between 100 and 120 “Honorable Service” and “American Defense” medals will be conferred.

Those who cannot attend also are honored.

One empty chair is covered in a Missing in Action motif with a United States flag folded in its seat. Another with beat-up fatigue hat and small flag signifies the problem of homeless veterans while a third represents soldiers killed in action. Combat boots, helmet, rifle and dog tags stand next to it as a memorial.

Everyone is invited to attend this moving tribute to Henry County’s men and women in uniform which begins at 9:15 a.m. in the HCHS gymnasium.


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