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Veterans honored with ‘heart-filled joy and appreciation’

Veterans honored with ‘heart-filled joy and appreciation’
Veterans honored with ‘heart-filled joy and appreciation’
Kenneth Borden, New Salisbury, holds his hat over his heart during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Borden served in the Army from 1963 to '65. Photos by Stephanie Taylor Ferriell
Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]

Veterans and community members turned out on a cold, but bright and sunny, Saturday morning to honor those who have served through America’s armed forces. Harrison County’s Veterans Day celebration took place at Cedar Hill Cemetery.

“On Veterans Day, we honor every man and woman who’s ever worn the uniform of our nation, those who’ve selflessly secured America’s promise throughout our history,” guest speaker Col. Antoinette Gant told the attendees. “That same history teaches us that security doesn’t just happen. It demands effort, sacrifice, courage and commitment.”

Wayne Wilkinson, commander of Old Capitol VFW Post No. 2950, introduced Gant, who has been commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, since July 2017. The Louisville district, established in 1886, has a workforce of approximately 1,250 in a five-state area. Gant provides strategic direction and control, overseeing a budget exceeding $1 billion.

A native of Port Gibson, Miss., Gant earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering as a Distinguished Military Graduate from Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. She earned master’s degrees from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. She has lived in 10 states and two countries, serving in an array of positions, including military assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army-Civil Works at the Pentagon. She most recently served as the engineer for the Resolute Support and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel Headquarters, a four-star coalition headquarters, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Veterans honored with ‘heart-filled joy and appreciation’
Giving the three-round volley with rifles are, from left, Gary Monroe, Ernie Emily, Frank Bills, Bob Jacobs, Mark McAdams and Junior Goodpasture.

“Today, we salute the service of all our veterans and we keep in our thoughts and prayers the fallen, the missing and those who right now are serving in harm’s way,” she said during the program.


“In so many ways, our veterans have shaped our lives that we live today. We are thankful. … Today, we’re honoring them, those veterans in our lives that we will continue to cherish for the freedoms that they have sacrificed in defense for us,” said Gant. “We honor our veterans by insisting that our nation live up to Abraham Lincoln’s promise to care for them who have borne the battle and for his or her widow and orphans. We honor them by never ceasing the search for those missing who have not yet come home.

“This Veterans Day we honor our veterans by celebrating their day not just solemnly, but with heart-filled joy and appreciation for the veterans in our lives and for the pride our entire country feels for them on this day.”

Gant said true appreciation for veterans extends beyond a single day set aside to commemorate them.

“We also remember that honoring those who have served isn’t just about honoring them here today. It’s about how we honor our veterans each and every day,” she said. “It’s a remaining commitment to support them and their families in every way that we can. It’s about serving them as well as they’ve served — and continue to serve — our nation.”

Wilkinson provided history surrounding some familiar military traditions.

The gun salute performed at funerals and veterans’ ceremonies is not, as many believe, a 21-gun salute, he said. That honor is reserved for the president and heads of state.

“What is performed at our funerals and ceremonies is what is known as a three-round volley with rifles,” he explained. “We are using the M1 Garrand, which was used in World Wars I and II, Korea and early Vietnam.”

It was replaced by the M16.

Wilkinson said it’s not clear when the tradition started. Some say the Civil War; others trace it to the Roman Empire when the two sides would call a truce to clear the battlefield of the dead and wounded.

“A three-round volley would be sounded, and answered, after the dead and wounded were removed and properly cared for and the battle could resume,” he said.

Wilkinson also gave a brief history of taps, also known as The Last Post. The distinctive bugle melody played at military funerals and memorials and as a lights-out signal to soldiers at night dates to the Civil War, he said.

“Since that time, taps has also been a formally-recognized part of military funerals to indicate that the soldier has gone to their final rest,” he said.

Among the veterans in attendance was Kenneth Borden of New Salisbury. An Army veteran, he was deployed to Germany, serving from 1963 to 1965. He was thrilled at the size of Saturday’s crowd.

“It’s your duty,” he said of paying tribute to veterans. “I’m tickled to death,” he said, referring to the crowd.

Borden said patriotism is “kind of lacking” in America today, something he hopes will change.

“Everybody ought to be aware and show respect,” he said. “We all need to be loyal to our country and military.”