Photo by Jerry Eltzroth
Veteran Louis Officer addresses those gathered at the Ravenna Memorial Park on Saturday.
By Jerry Eltzroth
Veterans Day began when President Wilson declared Armistice Day to be a celebration of the end of World War I. The Armistice was signed in 1918 on the 11th month, 11th hour, and 11th minute—the guns were finally silenced. Over the years, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day. Then it was declared a national holiday and was observed on Mondays to provide the populace a long weekend. After many petitions by Veterans organizations, the observance was once again observed on November 11th—the traditional day. This year November 11th fell on a Wednesday.
November 10th is the day the Marines celebrate their birth as a branch of our Armed Forces. I am reminded of this every year by our ex-Marine (if there is such a thing) son-in-law, Danny. Every year Danny and his Marine buddies gather on this date to share in festivities and comradeship.
The Veterans Day celebration at the Ravenna Veterans Park was held on Saturday, November 7th this year, at 1 o’clock. The weather cooperated and provided us with a sunny, warm day. In fact, it was so warm in the bright sun, that many attendees sought whatever shade they could find—a beautiful day!
The American Legion Commander, Louis Officer, performed in the role of emcee of this year’s event and read the names of our Estill County veterans who passed away since our last Veterans Day celebration. Ravenna Council member Beverly Thompson’s annual address to the attendees was again very inspiring. Our newly elected State Representative, Bill Wesley, welcomed the veterans and promised to help the veterans all he can once he begins his term of office in Frankfort. Representative Wesley had a welcoming table ladened with treats. His helpers secured the names and addresses of the veterans in attendance so that he could correspond with them later to get their input on veteran matters. The American Legion Color Guard fired a rifle salute and played a recording of Taps. Brother Marvin Neal once again gave the benediction.
There was a good attendance at this year’s celebration in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic surging in our county and state. It is interesting to note that when the Spanish flu pandemic gripped this nation and the world in 1918, during the first Armistice Day celebration, our soldiers had to fight that disease as well as our enemies in World War I.
Most of the attendees at Ravenna Veterans Park were veterans of the Vietnam War. However, there was a sprinkling of Korean veterans, such as Tommy Lisle, and a few from the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. Whatever their job in our military, or wherever they served was important to the defense of our nation and our democracy.
We must not forget our military personnel who are on duty now protecting our country and helping us to fight this COVID-19 pandemic in many ways. I personally know one soldier who began her Army training in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis last spring. She is our niece, Paris Closterman. She recently completed her training as a nurse and will finally be able to take leave to come home for a few days to visit her family in Madison County.
There are hundreds of thousands of our service men and women on duty throughout the world as you read this story. Remember them in your thoughts and prayers. A “thank you for your service” is always appreciated by our veterans.
Jen Richardson sang the National Anthem. She was excellent!
The local Scout troop participated in honoring our veterans by presenting and retiring the colors. It is always a pleasure to see our youth involved in this important celebration.
PFC Paris Closterman recently completed her training as an Army nurse.