Cherokee County honors veterans

by By Cristin Parker

It was cool and overcast for Cherokee County’s annual Veterans Day ceremony, held Monday, Nov. 11, at the county veterans memorial marker on the courthouse lawn.

A handful of people, including Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis, gathered to honor the county’s veterans. Rusk resident Virginia Goforth regaled the crowd with the national Anthem and other patriotic songs. The Sons of Confederate Veterans Cross of St. Andrew Camp of Cherokee County presented arms and fired the traditional rifle volley. And former VFW Auxiliary member Kim Nickle led the pledge of Allegiance.

“It’s Thanksgiving time and we all are getting ready to give thanks for our many, many blessings,” guest speaker Rusk Mayor Angela Raiborn said. “One of our most important blessings, as Americans, are our veterans. It’s because of the sacrifices they made and continue to make every day for this nation that we have some much to be thankful for.”

Veteran Linard Dowling also addressed the crowd.

“If this had been a concert or something, there wouldn’t be room for everyone who showed up,” Dowling said. “Attending this ceremony shows your patriotism. Thank you for being here.

“I attended a veterans event at the Intermediate School this morning. One young man said he thought he might want to be a veteran and how do you get to be a veteran. After I told him what he had to do, he decided maybe he didn’t want to be a veteran after all,” Dowling shared with a laugh. “It’s sad to learn some young people don’t know what it means to be a veteran and how our veterans are responsible for the freedoms we have. We just kind of seem to take those freedoms for granted.”

Veterans Day originates from the armistice that ended World War I which occurred at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson designated Nov. 11 as Armistice Day to honor the veterans who fought in the Great War. After World War II and the Korean War, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans.” The legislation was signed by President Dwight E. Eisenhower on June 1, 1954, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all American vets.

There are more than 1.7 million veterans in Texas.

“I encourage Texas veterans to claim the benefits they have earned for themselves, their spouses and families,” Texas Veterans Commission Chair Eliseo “Al” Cantu, Jr. said in a statement emailed to the Cherokeean Herald.

“From education and employment to disability compensation and health care, Texas veterans may call on the Texas Veterans Commission for assistance and to smooth the process. Further, we can help veterans struggling with crisis to connect with a fellow veteran to talk with or with licensed mental health providers. Veterans who are business owners or want to own their own business can benefit from our Entrepreneur program. For those organizations providing services to veterans such as financial assistance, food and housing, we offer grants through the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance.

“To all our Texas veterans, know that you have our gratitude and our unwavering support on Veterans Day and every day of the year.

We should always remember our veterans’ selflessness, commitment to duty and service to all Americans and make everyday Veterans Day.”

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