Macon County honors past and present heroes of Nation’s military with parade and ceremony
The citizens of Macon County came out early Friday morning in downtown Franklin to pay tribute to surviving veterans during a parade and memorial wreathlaying ceremony, which honored veterans who have passed on.
Led by Boy Scout troops, veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Desert Storm, Grenada, Panama, Korea, Vietnam, and WWII marched from town hall to the Franklin Town Square, while citizens lined the streets cheering and thanking them for their service.
Following the parade, the crowd gathered in Town Square to continue honoring both survivors and those lost while fighting to protect the United States of America.
Franklin’s Vice Mayor and veteran, Verlin Curtis, addressed the crowd to show his appreciation to his fellow veterans. “We are forever indebted to you for your service and courage—you answered the call to protect and defend our nation,” said Curtis. “We are the home of the free because of the brave heroes who answered the call to what needed to be done, regardless of the consequences. I am proud to be an American and a veteran.”
Following Curtis’ inspiring remarks, stu- dents from Mountain View Intermediate school entertained the crowd with patriotic songs to further pay tribute to the county’s veterans.
The keynote speaker, Gary Shields, a Vietnam veteran and the recipient of numerous service awards including two purple hearts, spoke to the veterans to voice his admiration and appreciation for their service and also thanked Macon County citizens for supporting and honoring their veterans.
During his speech, Shields discussed the evolution of Veterans Day since its inception at the end of WWI in 1918. Originally deemed Armistice Day, the 11th day of the 11th month of each year was intended to honor WWI veterans, but in 1954 was changed to Veterans Day to honor all of the service men and women who have dedicated their lives to defend the country.
Shields expressed concern about the influence technology has already had and will continue to have on war within our nation. “This year’s graduating class of 2012 started kindergarten in 1999 and these young people have never lived without a war or threat of war and technology has thrown them into a world of global competition,” said Shields. “The educational vision statement is now to prepare our students for global competition, meaning that our youth of tomorrow will have to be more diverse.”
Shields noted that technology is already running miles ahead of the human understanding and is making war impersonal. “The 20th century was known for having the greatest generation, but the 21st century will have the greatest challenge and if we choose to ignore the human element of life and we all become a number; then every veteran, dead or alive, fought and died for naught.”