This past Saturday, Nov. 9 the City of Martins Ferry held our second annual Veterans Day Parade and Celebration. I would like to thank all of the volunteers who worked so hard to put this program together and for the second year in a row we were blessed with an absolute gorgeous fall day. The sun splashed park was a great backdrop as the cool fall air blew beautifully colored fall leaves through our newly revitalized city park as we honored our real hometown heroes.
For the large crowd that gathered Saturday you were able to take part in a great day of singing our national anthem, hearing the Heritage girls sing, our high school band play, listening to two great speakers, joining in several prayers, and hearing the beautiful sounds of bagpipes and taps being played in our park. None of these events would have taken place this past Saturday without the men and women who have fought to defend our rights and freedoms of this great country. We are a country that is free to worship, sing, pray and assemble together because of our veterans that have fought to protect our freedom.
I was really impressed to see the large turnout of veterans from the young to the old that took time to come and be recognized by our community. The highlight of the day for me personally was when we asked all of the veterans to come to the front of the stage and I invited the bagpiper up to the stage to play. I then walked to the end of the line and began to look directly into the eyes of each and every veteran as I shook their hand and thanked them for their service.
As I proceeded through the line the tears began to well up in my eyes as well as several veterans, as I had the distinct honor and privilege to the shake the very hands of the men and women who made our country free. While looking into their eyes and touching the skin on their hands, my thoughts wondered to all of the soil these feet have stood on fighting to defend our country and how unworthy I felt as my feet have never left the comfort of our soil for battle. To all of the men and women who stood in front of that stage in our city park this past Saturday, I can't begin to imagine what you went through defending our great country, but I want you to understand that you have my upmost respect and sincere appreciation for your service. May we, as citizens of the greatest country in this world, never forget the sacrifices that these men and women have made so that we may all have our freedom. If you have not looked a veteran in the eyes and shook their hand as you thank them for their service, it isn't too late, because Veterans Day should never be remembered for one day, but celebrated EVERY day. Thank you veterans and God Bless the USA.