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A Salute to Edgefield County Veterans

By Jack Reece –

“Duty is the most sublime word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less.” Robert E. Lee

As the events of Sunday last began to unfold on The Square in Edgefield one could only wonder if the picture being painted was from the palette of Norman Rockwell.  Boy Scouts roamed through the gathered citizenry passing out programs and small American Flags as patriotic music stirred the fall air over the historic green on which the county’s veterans were to be honored.  The NJROTC unit from Strom Thurmond High school was on hand to present the colors and the quintessential resident beauty queen, Jane Jenkins Herlong, was on hand to perform as mistress of ceremonies with music provided by Wallace Watkins.

It was time and the pipes of George Grinton marked the beginning of the ceremony as he led the veterans in a processional terminating in a gallery facing the numerous monuments, and on this day white crosses, that sit quietly on The Square in honor of those that have passed this way before.

As American Legion Commander Doolittle stood and presented the POW/MIA Flag, Chaplain Preston Creech called on those gathered for a moment of silence in honor of Veterans who have not yet come home.  Perhaps one of the most moving parts of this Veteran’s Day program was Korean War Veteran Willie Bacon’s rendition of Come By Here Lord.

The guest speaker, Air Force Veteran, Dr. John Culbertson then eloquently defined those being honored, Veterans, by describing the tasks that these individuals had endured and completed in order to guarantee the survival of the American way of life.

“If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.” George Washington

Reverend Willie Patton gave the benediction as “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America” began to ring out across small town America and on this Veteran’s Day we have all once again been reminded of the sacrifice that accompanies Duty.

“ We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we have done this as recently as last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in.”  Colin Powell