Joyce Marie Taylor
Local veterans were honored with a full agenda of events in White Springs on Thursday, Nov. 8, beginning with a salute to veterans at the memorial park, then a luncheon at South Hamilton Elementary School, and ending with an amazing red, white and blue parade down US 41.
The morning started out a bit chilly with everyone bundled up in coats and sweaters as they arrived at the Veterans Park. Dr. Helen Miller, mayor of White Springs officiated over the ceremony at the park, which began at 10 a.m., and Rev. Fred Scippio, Sr. gave the invocation. The Hamilton County High School AFJROTC Color Guard led by Colonel Davis posted the Colors. Color Guard members present were Cadets Hunter Levan, Michael Brady, Ashlyn Brady and William Scaff.
Once the flag was flying high Steven Troy sang the National Anthem.
White Springs Vice Mayor Walter McKenzie read an excerpt from the poem “Liberty” by James Whitcomb Riley from 1878, and then Cecil Davis strummed her guitar and sang a medley of patriotic songs.
Former Hamilton County Veterans Service Officer Bo Beauchemin, who just retired, offered a few words in honor of the local veterans and then introduced the newly inducted Veterans Service Officer for the county, Clay Lambert.
Both American Legion Post 215 and the VFW Post 8095 were well represented at the ceremony.
Once the color guard retired the Colors, Steven Troy sang “America the Beautiful”. The ceremony at the park ended with a moment of silence after which Pastor Roger Hutto played Taps on the bugle.
At 11 a.m. all local veterans, their spouses and several elected officials, including newly elected Hamilton County Superintendent of Schools Tom Moffses, headed over to South Hamilton Elementary School (SHE) for a delicious served luncheon of ham, potatoes, green beans and yummy cake for dessert.
The SHE choir led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and then sang the National Anthem, followed by “This Land is Your Land”, which drew loud applause from the audience.
PCS Phosphate White Springs sponsored the veterans luncheon and Mike Williams gave a thoughtful speech honoring all veterans.
After lunch the crowd headed outside to watch the Veterans Day Parade down US 41 and thankfully the weather warmed up quite a bit by then. SHE students proudly waved to the people lining the streets as they ambled down the road aboard their floats. One of the highlights of the parade was the Pre-K kids who were riding tricycles decked out in red, white and blue.
It was a fabulous day in White Springs, a learning experience for the students at SHE, and a wonderful tribute to all veterans in honor of Veterans Day.