Veterans deserve gratitude

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 12, 2007

AHOSKIE – Selfless service.

That’s what U.S. Army Lt. Colonel (Retired) Eric Bates said of those who proudly wear the uniforms of America’s military branches.

Lt. Colonel Bates, the Senior Army Instructor of the Junior ROTC program at Bertie High School, was the guest speaker here yesterday (Monday) morning during a Veteran’s Day ceremony hosted by American Legion Post 102.

“Not every American is able to serve in the armed forces, so the duty falls on a special few,” Lt. Colonel Bates said. “We each need to acknowledge our debt to them and their forefathers. Veterans use words like duty, honor and country. They are an inspiration to us in their character values and their many accomplishments.”

As Lt. Colonel Bates pointed out, Veteran’s Day is a time set aside to remember the sacrifices and the courage of our nation’s military men and women. It’s a time to acknowledge our debt of gratitude to these brave individuals and to publicly display that gratitude.

“It is said in the Bible that no greater love is there than that a person should sacrifice his life for another,” Lt. Colonel Bates noted. “That is the kind of love, I think, that most of our veterans have for this country and the people in it. We need to ensure that not one of our veterans is forgotten, especially those wounded in service. They have risked their lives for our welfare and they suffer for it everyday.”

Lt. Colonel Bates encouraged everyone to take the time to visit an injured veteran, whether it is in their home or at a Veteran’s Hospital.

“A simple salute is all that is necessary and they will understand,” he said. “That simple act of recognition will mean a lot to them.”

Lt. Colonel Bates said the hallmark of an American veteran is to fight for the simple reason of not letting their comrades down.

“They want to do their part, the best way that they can, which is usually under conditions of extreme physical hardship and fear,” he stated. “From that courage comes a character trait called service. I think of it as selfless service to the nation, service that allows the rest of us to live freely and prosper.”

Post 102 Commander Herbert Lassiter presided over Monday’s ceremony. The Hertford County Junior ROTC posted the colors while prayer was offered by Rev. (Sgt.) Rupert Harrell Jr. and Post 102 Chaplain William Reid.

Linda Meeks of the Post 102 Ladies Auxiliary read a patriotic poem. Reggie Faust played “Taps” to close the 11 a.m. ceremony.

“Captured Hearts” of Rich Square n a sister trio of Jessica, Amanda and Emily King n along with India Hawkins of Gates provided musical selections.

Following the ceremony, Post 102 members hosted a reception for veterans and their families at the Parker Veterans Center.