Grateful community says thanks to veterans

by Nicole Stokes

Despite cold and windy conditions on Saturday, Nov. 12, Franklin Countians showed up for the annual Veterans Day outdoor program held in downtown Bude to honor area men and women who served their country in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Brother Jessie Givens of Landmark United Pentecostal Church in Eddiceton opened the program with a prayer of blessing over the event and local veterans.

Tiffanye Givens and the Landmark Trio sang the National Anthem, followed a presentation of the colors by the Jefferson County High School Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.

Bude Mayor Linda Green greeted those in attendance and expressed gratitude to all veterans for their contributions to the nation’s way of life.

Franklin County High School’s Pride of Franklin County Marching Band and Color Guard performed several patriotic songs for those in attendance.

Grady Fleming, who serves as the Veterans Affairs officer for Franklin County, addressed the audience with information about how his office can help those who served their country.

“We’re not guaranteed any help from the government,” Fleming said.

“When we went in they said, ‘We’re going to take care of you for the rest your life.’ They did not follow up on that and they fight you every time you try to get something that you deserve.

“I am there to fight for you and with you. So please let me know if there’s anything that deals with your time in service that you need help with. Please spread the word that if veterans need any help, check with me and I will see what I can do to help. Thank you again for your service, and may God bless America.”

Mississippi House District 85 Rep. Jeffrey Harness, D-Fayette, also spoke to veterans.

“I’d like to start by thanking all of those among us who, despite the risk and sacrifice, raised their hand to serve and defend this beautiful country,” Harness began.

“Our veterans, active duty service members, guardsmen and reserves — your service has helped keep our country and its citizens safe and free.

“Let’s also take a moment to acknowledge those families of service members and veterans who helped shoulder the weight of war and the burden of sacrifice. To the mothers, the fathers, the spouses and children of our military men and women … thank you.

“Your love, support and readiness are the backbone of our nation, and that must never be forgotten. And today, we pay homage to the unrelenting bravery and dedication that distinguish all those who have earned the title of American veteran.

“It’s an honor that only a small percentage can claim, and one that marks those able to claim it as brothers and sisters. To be a veteran is a badge of courage that unites across all ages, regardless of background, because to be a veteran is to have endured and survived challenges most Americans would never know.

“You’ve come through the trials and testing, braved dangers and deprivations, faced down the tragic realities of war and death, and you’ve done it for us — you’ve done it for America, to defend and preserve American values and to protect our country and our Constitution against all enemies, and to lay a stronger, more secure foundation on which future generations can continue to build a more perfect union.

“Each of our veterans is a link in a proud chain of patriots that has stood in the defense of our country, from Bunker Hill to Gettysburg, from Iraq to Afghanistan. Each understood the price of freedom. Each shouldered the burden on our behalf. Our veterans represent the best of America. You are backbone of our nation, and all of us owe you.

“So on Veterans Day and every day, we honor the great deeds and commitment and we commit ourselves to keeping our sacred obligation as a nation to honor what you’ve done. On Veterans Day, we acknowledge humbly that we can never serve our veterans in quite the same way they served us — but we can try.

“We can practice kindness. We can pay it forward. We can volunteer. We can serve. We can respect one another. We can always get each other’s back. Veterans, you have done your duty to your families, to your communities, to your fallen comrades and to your country.

“You have honorably served your nation with great distinction, and we can never say it enough… for your service in war and peace – thank you, and God bless you.”

The program also featured singing and music by the Sweet Home Baptist Church Choir and the Landmark Trio, as well as a banjo performance by Larry Wallace.

A portion of time was allotted for any veterans who wished to share their experiences to do so.

Afghanistan War veteran Robert Shaw spoke briefly to those gathered, as did Navy veteran Edward Foster.

A United States flag along with a flagpole and holder was given as a door prize by the Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church’s Veterans Outreach Ministry. Army veteran Ralph McFarland had the winning ticket.

Additionally, the Bude Committee, which organized last week’s gathering, handed out commemorative pins to all veterans present, and Landmark United Pentecostal Church provided gifts to those in attendance.

The Town of Bude provided hot coffee and cocoa, and Sullivan’s Kitchen in Meadville prepared catfish plates and sweet tea for the veterans.

Martha Sampson and Ann Peeples of the Bude Committee honored all of the veterans and expressed their gratitude for their service, as well as acknowledging those who helped sponsor the event.

The program concluded with the playing of Taps by Andrew Berryhill with echo by Anthony Williams.

Sponsors and supporters of the 2022 Veterans Day program included Libby Herring, Franklin Telephone Co., Bude Baptist Church, Sullivan’s Kitchen, Belle’s Bliss and Designs, Sullivan’s Grocery, Tillman Real Estate, FBBInsurance, United Mississippi Bank, The Franklin Advocate, Rural Rapid Response, Franklin County Memorial Hospital, Franklin Ready Mix, Meadville Convalescent Home, G.L. Jones Industrial Group, Meadville Nutrition, King’s Discount Pharmacy, the Bude Community Foundation, KayKay Travis, Steve West, Sullivan Ford-Lincoln, Larkin Veterinary Clinic, Quentin Quick Stop, Franklin County Farm Bureau, Home Hardware Center, Peoples Drug Store, the Franklin County American Legion Auxiliary and New Bethel Baptist Church.