Veterans honored at 22nd annual ceremonydfwnewsa | November 14, 2022 | 0 | Midlothian , Waxahachie News
Chris Roark, email@example.com
Local veterans from World War II, the Global War on Terror and every war in between were recognized Saturday at the annual Ellis County Veterans Ceremony.
The 22nd annual event, which took place at the Waxahachie Civic Center, was organized by the Ellis County Marine Corps League Detachment 1452 and honored veterans from all branches of the military.
Like many in attendance, John Latham, who is on active duty for the Texas State Guard, said the ceremony made him emotional.
“I made the mistake of leaving my handkerchief at home,” Latham said. “It was very moving and heartfelt. A lot of love and appreciation goes into this every year.”
The ceremony included a salute to the armed forces and a tribute to the veterans in attendance, beginning with the veterans of the Global War on Terror.
“Those who served in this conflict are our newest group of veterans, and they volunteered to protect our country from further attack, and we should remember they were all volunteers,” said Ken Roberts, the master of ceremonies. “Many of them served multiple deployments, some in multiple conflicts. They never lost a major battle, and we should say they did not lose the war. Regardless of the actions of politicians they served the nation with honor and determination.”
The tribute continued by honoring veterans of the Persian Gulf War and Desert Storm, the Cold War, the Korean War and World War II.
The ceremony also featured a tribute to the fallen and a description of the POW/MIA Empty Chair.
Veteran Ed Lane, who gave the history of the POW/MIA Empty Chair, said throughout history there are 81,502 American service men and women who are unaccounted for.
“It is in their honor this table is set for one,” Lane said.
He said with help from new technology 172 remains were identified and 170 have been identified this year.
“We must not stop, we must not relent until all comrades are accounted for,” Lane said.
The ceremony also included music from Classic Swing Band, Reveille Sisters, Casey Needham and Brian Johnson.
Latham said he was especially touched by hearing the patriotic music and seeing the display of pictures of service men and women hugging their loved ones when they returned home.
“It tugged at your heart,” Latham said.
The ceremony concluded at the Veterans Memorial outside the Civic Center with the laying of the wreath, a three-round volley, the playing of TAPS and a military flyover.
Don Merchant, who served in the U.S. Army in Germany from 1958-1960 during the Cold War, said the ceremony is special to be a part of.
“It’s tremendous,” Merchant said. “I think anyone can benefit from this. Everyone needs to learn about all the years that we went through. This was worth the time and the effort.”
As he has for several years Gary Hershberger attended the event and brought his 1942 GPW Army jeep with him. He parked it in the Civic Center parking lot and told its story to anyone who stopped by to look at it.
“We had kids and adults taking pictures,” said Hershberger, who served in the U.S. Army from 1972-1975. “There was a World War II veteran who liked it, so that made my day.”
Hershberger said the jeep was used in World War II and the Korean War. It’s been restored and also includes a replica machine gun on top.
Hershberger said it’s important to attend the Veterans Day ceremony and to bring a piece of military history with him.
“I want to remind the younger generation that freedom isn’t free,” Hershberger said.
For more photos of the ceremony click here.