‘Common Bond’

Published 11:48 am Monday, November 13, 2017

JACKSON – What does it mean to serve?

That was the question posed by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Sammons as he addressed the audience at the Northampton County Veterans Day ceremony held here Friday in front of the county courthouse. Sammons, an active service member of the US Air Force, was the guest speaker for the occasion.

An important point in Sammons’ speech was his emphasis on the support military service members and veterans receive from the citizens. He shared two brief stories about encounters in airports that made an impact on him about the idea of service.

Lt. Colonel Charles Sammons, an active service member stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, speaks to the crowd about the connection between military service and citizen support.

At an airport in Honolulu, Sammons saw a group of Marines passing through. A lady stopped to thank one of the men for his service. He said the Marine’s simple response of “thank you, ma’am, for your support” stuck with him. It is through that support, Sammons said, that the military is able to carry out their duty.

The other story centered on the airport in Bangor, Maine when he and his unit returned home from a tour of duty.

“We arrived at Bangor one night about 3 a.m. It was snowing and very cold. We were not expecting to be greeted,” Sammons said. “But there were about 75 people there, mostly veterans and their families, that had food and phones and love and support for us when we arrived.”

Sammons paused briefly after relaying this story, letting the weight of the moment sink in.

“Veterans have fought the wars for us,” Sammons then continued. “We can learn from their experiences, good and bad. And we need to learn from those experiences to set the course for the future.”

The Lieutenant Colonel went on to make a point about how the military is made up of a diverse group of people, all with differing opinions and viewpoints.

“But the common bond for all of us is service,” he explained.

Sammons also spoke about protecting and cherishing freedom, especially to honor the sacrifices of the 22 million veterans of the United States.

He wrapped up his speech by quoting President Dwight D. Eisenhower from his Veterans Day proclamation in 1954, saying, “on this day, let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all of those who have fought so valiantly on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores to preserve our heritage and freedom.”

The ceremony also included a few words from Diane Hale, the Veterans Director for Northampton County.

“As a veteran myself, it gives me great honor to stand before you today in tribute to our nation’s finest,” said Hale, a former Marine. “We are here today to honor our veterans and our heroes, to remember their achievements, their courage, and their dedication, and to say thank you for their sacrifices.”

The Northampton County High School JROTC was on hand to raise the flags beside the courthouse before the audience stood for a rendition of the national anthem performed by Max Nelson-O’Daugherty. Hale led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance afterwards.

Hale also gave the veterans and active service members in attendance a chance to be recognized. The men who stood represented all parts of the military, including the Army, Marines, National Guard, and Navy.

County Commissioner Charles Tyner opened and closed the ceremony with prayer.