Dayton honors veterans at annual luncheon
For eight years, the city of Dayton has found a way to honor veterans in the community for their sacrifice and service to the country. Last Saturday was no different when they opened the doors of the Dayton Community Center to welcome veterans and a guest to a sit-down luncheon of barbecue and a brief program to offer their appreciation.
This year was different than previous years in that it also represented the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.
“On June 28, 1919, fighting ceased seven months earlier,” said master of ceremonies and former county attorney Wes Hinch.
“When the Armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities between Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, and the 11th month, for that reason, Nov. 11, 1918 is generally regarded as the end of the war to end all wars,” he said.
More than 150 people attended the event and enjoy the food and fellowship. Amongst the tables of guests, war stories were relived, and battle scars remembered.
“We gather today at the 11th hour of the 11th month to honor our heroes, to remember their achievements, their courage, and their dedication. We say thank you for your sacrifices,” Hinch said.
Looking across the room, Hinch was poignant in his words.
“Thinking of the heroes who join us today in this room, and those who are only here in spirit, a person can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the enormity of your sacrifice,” he said to veterans.
He told the crowd that they were in the middle of patriots and the family and friends of those who had served.
“The service members we honor today came from all walks of life, but they shared several fundamental principles. They possessed courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty, and integrity. All the qualities needed to serve a call larger than oneself,” he said.
Hinch thanked them personally for their service.
“This is one of the largest events in the district,” said Will Carter, representative from the office of Congressman Dr. Brian Babin, “and the congressman wishes he could be here with you. He is a fellow veteran of the Army and Air Force, and he thanks you from the bottom of his heart and said it was a privilege to serve each of you on veterans related issues,” he said.
Here is the congressman’s message in its entirety to veterans:
“No one is more worthy of respect than our veterans. On Veterans Day, we honor those brave, selfless men and women who put on the uniform to serve our nation.
President Woodrow Wilson declared the first Veterans Day, then called “Armistice Day,” in 1919. So many of our countrymen had been sent overseas to fight in the Great War. Europe had been ravaged. Entire countries were decimated. Truly, the world emerged a different place. Yet, our homeland remained unscathed. President Wilson recognized the importance of thanking those who had served so valiantly.
Our republic has endured because so many throughout our history have answered that call to service. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice. Families and communities across our great nation have felt the grief of losing a loved one. And many more who served have returned with serious injuries. The costs are high, but our flag remains flying because so many were willing to pay it.
The 36th Congressional District of Texas is home to over 50,000 veterans. So many of us who call Southeast Texas home grew up instilled with a deep love of country and allegiance to the flag. Even today, when our liberties sometimes seem under attack, we have so much to be thankful for. We must never lose sight of the blessings of liberty our God has bestowed upon us. We are a blessed people to live in the greatest nation on Earth.
From WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, so many among us have fought for the freedoms we cling to. Their bravery is only matched by their humility. Today is our day to recognize them, to thank them for the sacrifices they and their families have made. They represent the highest ideals of our great Republic, and we must never let them feel unappreciated.
So, on this Veterans Day, please take a moment to personally thank someone in your life who has served in the military. And let us remember the men and women who are currently serving to keep our flag flying and our people safe.”