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“Will you forget?”
The words of Commander Ray Swanson, US Navy, pierced the hearts of those who gathered for the Veterans Day Honor Ceremony.
“Will you forget them after today’s ceremony? Will you visit them at the veteran hospitals?” he said.
Swanson reminded those attending the service at First Baptist Church Saturday morning that Veterans Day is not only about remembering the 2.6 million soldiers who have died, but commemorating the 23.4 million that are living among us – many of whom still serve.
“They have done a marvelous job protecting our way of live,” said Swanson, who has received both the Bronze Star and the Medal of Valor for his service during Vietnam. “As a result, we have freedoms that we now take for granted. But the cost of those freedoms wasn’t free.”
At another ceremony later that day, Chaplain Jay Padgett, US Army, followed the same line of thought during his speech at Ray Jewell Park when he said that Americans need to pray for their wounded soldiers.
“There may be some among us today that are still hurting from their injuries 50 or 60 years ago,” said Padgett. “We also need to pray for our soldiers on the front lines – for those who are still in the fight and for those that are being laid to rest this very day.”
Padgett told the 150 people who gathered at the park that as they watched the parade on Main Street earlier that day, the family of 27-year-old Daniel Wallace was watching their beloved soldier being carried away in a funeral procession. Sgt. Wallace, of Dry Ridge, was killed October 31 while serving in the Kentucky Army National Guard in Afghanistan.
“America has faced challenges at very high costs,” said Rep. Brad Montell, who attended the ceremony at Ray Jewell Park. “They have kept us free in the land we call home. For all of this, we owe to the men and women who have taken the oath to protect America heartfelt thanks. Your sacrifice serves as an inspiration for the next generation.”
The Veterans Day Celebration was organized by Guard Duty, a non-profit, Christian-based organization in Spencer County. Among the day’s events were a 5K run/walk, parade, military displays and the Honor Ceremony which featured a documentary about past and present Spencer County residents who have served in the military.