Honor Thy Veterans

Posted: November 16, 2007 in Holidays

Before I begin, let me say that to those who served in the Armed Forces: mad respect and big-ups to the Veterans!

Veteran’s Day is of course November 11th in which we all celebrate those who fought and served America. Several years ago,  I haven’t been to any Veteran’s Day Celebration around the city in a while. Why is this? Well, the last time I was in a Veteran’s Day Celebration was around 1994 in West Allis. At the time I was part of the Marshall High School Band, and it was my first experience. An experience to see local veterans from all branches coming together to be acknowledged for their bravery, valor, and honor during their time in the Military. Plus that was the time I heard rifles going off near by our parade unit! May I add they were real rifles that had a loud bang effect like fireworks.

Years went by, and then Veterans Day 2005 came. My home church, St. James United Methodist Church was in preparations of planning a Veteran’s Day Program for our congregation that served. The goal of the church’s celebration was to recoginze some of our members who served in the armed forces. This was in a planning effect for a couple of years, and it became a reality in which it livens today.  There was also a praise dance from our children choir members and our youth members at the time read a poem. It goes like this: BTW – my sister composed this poem!

 


 

WE REALIZE THAT NOTHING IS FREE.

SOMEBODY

SOMEWHERE

AT SOMETIME PAID FOR SOMETHING.

WE THANK YOU FOR PRESERVING OUR FREEDOM! WE DON’T KNOW THE ROAD YOU’VE WALKED….

WE DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE HAD TO DO….

WE DON’T KNOW THE PAIN YOU’VE FELT…. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU HAD TO GO THRU….

WE DO KNOW THAT YOU WERE TRUE….

TO THE RED

TO THE WHITE

TO THE BLUE

AND ALL WE KNOW TO SAY IS….

THANK YOU!

THANK YOU!

THANK YOU!

 


 

My father (who I am named after) is a Vietnam Vet. He rank was an SP5, and his MOS was an Helicopter Gunner, with the U.S. Army’s 25th Infrantry. He served for 2 years between 1966-1968. For the first time, I heard about my dad’s war story on Thanksgiving of that year, and it kind of surprised me that he actually lived and survived it. He mentioned about Keeping one eye closed and one eye open while guarding and sleeping,  seeing and smelling some of the dead carcasses that used to be soilders that were killed in a nearby vehicle.  I know some of this is kind of graphic, but that is what he experienced. And some of you Vietnam Veterans who, like my father could probably relate. My father volunteered to go to Vietnam before Tet, if I’m not mistaken. He didn’t mentioned this story at the celebration, but it was and enlighted viewpoint coming from him. Other members like Mr. Willie Jackson, another Vietmam Vet,  acknowledged his enlightment and creativity in bringing out the celebaration. And Ms. Tuwania Anderson had a son, Anthony, who served 10 years in the Army, and part of Iraqi-Freedom, acknowledeged the fact that with letters and prayer, she knew that her son was safe from harms way. He’s out now and living in Chicago.

Another highlight was from the Veteran’s Day Program the following year. Last year’s.  It was more packed this time! Simply because there were more people involved in the decorations, and yours truly used Powerpoint Presentations from the previous year for a show and tell. And I did filming for the event too. I got all the footages of the performaces, speakers, artifacts and many other displays that was developed for show and tell.

The guests also featured NABVETS, a group of African Americans who once served in the Military, displayed marching techniques for the audience. And was featured during the National Anthem. Plus there were other presentations in form of dance. 1290 WMCS On-Air Talent TJ did a praise dance which had the recording of Ray Charles’ America the Beautiful in the background. The Lambs of Christ, did a cadence like song of "We Are Christians", which as adopted from "We Are Soilders". Then came the Veteran Stories! Stories that had a humor effect, discrimiation, turn abouts of fair play, and made some firsts for blacks. The humor part when Mr. Jackson had a story about snakes. He was scared of them during basic training! It somewhat got the audience on the humor side in which that not all basic training wasn’t bad or dangerous. It was good humor working. 

Another story was my from my pastor. Rev. Vernon Moore is a Vietnam Vet that served in the U.S. Army between 1975-1978.  He had on a replica of a coat and hat that was symbolic of a Buffalo Soilders’ uniform. He also mentioned that the soilders, whom were black, never got any recognition because of their color. Rev. Moore commented that the Buffalo Soldiers were the  most "undecorated" soilders in the Wild West. And one to add, the name "Buffalo Soilders" was given because they had rough hair and a tough attitude. He also pointed to a symbol on his hat. The symbol was a replica of his unit, the 11th Armored Calvary, aka the Blackhorses, and believe it or not, his commanding officer was George S. Patton, Jr. Furthermore, when Rev. Moore was leaving basic training and heading towards Sherveport, Louisana where at the time discrimination was running rampent. There was a conversation involving a former black soilder who was coming home trying to get a seat in a restaurant. He commented that the solider almost died for them. Although despite of discrimiaton of blacks serving in the military at the time, it was hard for them to go through that treatment, but it gave some a chance to be recognized as part of the Armed Forces. Even he mentioned about the poor people who served at the time had something to offer in the Military.

Another story came from a former church member, Oscar Maurice Smith. He served in the U.S. Navy, between 1988-1993, and is a Desert Storm Veteran. During his tenure he was station in the Red Sea area. One part of story was scary when he commented about a ship that he was supposed to board. The ship itself  had problems and he said the whole sank under water, also claiming those on board. He also said that God had a different plan in order serve. Mrs. Clea Keys talked about her husband Oley Keys, who is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He was a decorated marksman, K-9 Trainer, Military Police, Air Force Mechanic, and many other areas. He was "mustered out" due to discriminaton in Camp Shelby MS. He received an Honorable Discharge. That was one of the changes that he redefined him so those who wouldn’t have to go through the way he did. Furthermore, there was poetry involved, that was read by Tuwania Anderson. The poem was called "They Survived". Here is the link to the website for the poem. In my opinion, the poem has a significance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The celebration concluded with the Men’s Choir singing a hymn known as "Peace in the Valley".

This year, my church is expected to do the same thing as last year, but there will be a video involved to show the Veterans, another PowerPoint presentation, and video recording by me, and more of acknowledging the efforts that the Veterans gave to us in times of peace, discrimination, disaster, and war.

So, Veterans of the Armed Services. This day is for you. I don’t know what branch or war you served, but as for me who comes from a long line of vetarans in my family, it makes me feel that although some may not agree with serving America, but most I think thanks you for your service. Those of us who haven’t served, including me, may not understand at times of valor, honor, and sacrifice,  but I think we have to look at the respect that was given.  Therefore, thank a veteran not just on November 11th, but thank a Veteran every day.

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