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Marching proudly to honor heroes

South Boston News
Receiving special recognition Saturday were 18 veterans of the Vietnam War era, Terry Daniels, Lee Banks, Danny Reaves, Tommy Whitlow, Stuart Forlines, Tommy Allen, Mickey Conner, Richard Fallen, Clint Doe, Danny Johnson, James Hancock, George Brummer, Leonard Satterfield, John Wood, Mike Taylon, Alvin Butchglass, George Banhour and Simon Kirkland. / November 13, 2017
Downtown South Boston was awash in red, white, and blue on Saturday as hundreds of people ignored the 34-degree temperature to show their appreciation for those who have served to protect our freedom.

Bobby Shepherd, member of American Legion Post 8, expressed amazement at the turnout for this year’s Veterans Day parade and program at Constitution Square. “I don’t recall ever seeing so many people show up for the Veterans Day celebration,” he said with a smile.

Veterans of World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and Middle East and Afghanistan operations were among the parade participants and spectators.

The American Legion Post 8 Honor Guard and Halifax County High School JROTC kicked off the parade, followed by dozens of classic cars of all kinds, most carrying veterans and their families. The HCHS Marching Comets Band performed, as did the high school Dynasty Step Team and cheerleaders.

We’ve Got Rhythm Dance Academy, Grace Baptist Church, American Legion Post 8, Vietnam Vets of America Tri River Chapter 840, and the Sons of the Confederacy all participated with floats, and a South Boston parade would not be worth its salt without police cruisers and fire trucks, both of which were on display.

The only hazard of the morning was avoiding injury by the candy flying from every vehicle and truck that passed by.

The parade date of Nov. 11 and start time of 11 a.m. has significance. In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I, then known as “the Great War.”

Commemorated in many countries as Armistice Day, Nov. 11 became a federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became legally known as Veterans Day.

After the parade, many attendees and participants migrated over to Constitution Square for a special Veterans Day program, including the first Vietnam veterans commemorative ceremony.

Ceremonies began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem sung by Ken Vaiden, followed by a 21-gun salute by American Legion Post 8. Halifax County High School student Spencer Hargrave played taps followed by the Invocation given by Pastor Ridge Cullum from Beth Car Baptist Church.

Speaker Zak Ford, youth pastor at Beth Car Baptist Church, challenged all young people present to “find a veteran, give them a hug, and thank them from the bottom of your heart.” He reminded everyone that but for the sacrifices made by our armed forces, we would not enjoy many of the freedoms we often take for granted.

Guest speaker, Army Col. Sam Lowery, Ret., addressed the importance of remembering and honoring veterans of all wars who have sacrificed so much for everyone.

A first-ever “pinning ceremony,” made possible by the efforts of American Legion Post 8 member Bobby Shepherd, presented special lapel pins to Vietnam veterans as “A Lasting Memento of the Nation’s Thanks!”

American Legion Post 8, along with nearly 9,000 organizations around the country, joined with the Department of Defense as a commemorative partner to honor the nation’s Vietnam veterans. The commemoration recognizes men and women who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the U.S. involvement in Vietnam — November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975.

Bobby Shepherd read the names of the honorees and Sam Lowery pinned each. 18 Vietnam veterans received this special recognition on Saturday. They are: Terry Daniels, Lee Banks, Danny Reaves, Tommy Whitlow, Stuart Forlines, Tommy Allen, Mickey Conner, Richard Fallen, Clint Doe, Danny Johnson, James Hancock, George Brummer, Leonard Satterfield, John Wood, Mike Taylon, Alvin Butchglass, George Banhour and Simon Kirkland.

Commemorative partners will hold this commemoration twice a year for three years. Dates for upcoming commemorations will appear in the newspaper.

One of the recipients, George Brummer, a Vietnam veteran, attended with his service dog Opal. Lori Reaves, an event organizer, had the honor of pinning her father, a Vietnam veteran. Her grandfather was a World War II veteran.

The Worship Center provided music, food and drinks were available from Dayes Delights, We’ve Got Rhythm sold pizza, Brooks Lyons Funeral Home offered coffee, and Commonwealth Home Health sold snacks and bottled water.

Four local residents with military ties are responsible for the success of this year’s Veteran’s Day celebration. “Cary Ford, Cissy Martin, Susan Wooding and myself coordinated the parade and post-parade program,” said Lori Reaves. “I am honored to be part of this.”

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