By BRAD KELLAR
The sacrifices made by veterans past and present were honored Friday morning, during the annual Hunt County Veterans Day observance.
The ceremony, conducted in front of the Hunt County Courthouse, featured patriotic music, flags, dancing and remarks from Ted Oats, Lt. Col. USAFR, (Ret.), who serves as the county’s Veterans Service Officer.
Oats said being in battle can leave an impact on all those who serve. In the past, the condition was known as “shell shock”, although Oats said it is now referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“It goes back to as long as men have been going to war,” Oats said. “These days it is not just the men. The women are there right alongside them.”
Oats’ office provides a variety of services to the approximately 9,000 veterans living in Hunt County, which received $40 million in Department of Veterans Affairs benefits in the past year.
Still, Oats expressed a wish that his services may someday no longer be required.
“I think all of us would like to know that dream, that there were no more wars,” Oats said.
County Court at Law No. 1 Judge Andrew Bench presided over the ceremony, and said Veterans Day is a tribute to all who have served their country, from the very first battles in the nation’s history.
“And now in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Bench said. “They have a keen sense of what it takes to sustain the greatest nation in the world.”
The observance also included music from the Greenville High School Band and a dance routine from the Greenville High School Flaming Flashes. The Hunt County Veterans Honor Guard posted the colors and performed a tribute to all branches of the United States Armed Forces, while Warren Dennis offered the invocation and benediction.
Multiple other activities are planned in the coming days, in honor of American veterans:
— The American Red Cross has scheduled a Veterans Day parade to start at 10 a.m. today at the intersection of Bois d’ Arc and Lee Street. The event is being hailed as way to celebrate heroes past and present who bravely protected America’s freedoms.
— Clancy’s Saloon & Stage, at the Bar-Double Horseshoe Ranch in Campbell will present the Wounded Heroes Benefit Concert today. The concert will start at 11 a.m., is expected to wrap up sometime around 2 a.m. Sunday and is being held to benefit the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation. Among the approximately two dozen artists scheduled to perform are the Dirt Road Gypsies, Melissa Jones Auld, Damon McCullough & the Grace Family Union, the Jacob Deal Band, Shaun Michaels, the Billy Autry Band, the Dirtwater Social Club and more. A gate fee is not being charged, but organizers are asking visitors to make a donation to Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation. Those attending the concert are invited to bring their own food, beverage and lawn chairs. The VFW Post 4011 in Greenville is supplying a canteen with hot dogs, hamburgers and more for a recommended donation to help raise money for the post’s scholarship fund. Cowboy Cookin of Dike will also be selling foot items including sausage on a stick and turkey legs. The Kona Guitar Company of Fort Worth has donated a Main Street guitar which will be raffled off during the event. Other sponsors for the event include the Texas Select Beverage Company, Acoustic Drive Records and Operation Mail Call. Those wanting additional information about the event can contact Frank Prigmore at 903-450-5619 or by email at email@example.com. The event is featured on two Facebook pages, including www.facebook.com/clancyssaloonandstage and www.facebook.com/events/403973809665545.
— The 21st Annual Veterans Vigil is being conducted starting today at Texas A&M Univesity-Commerce to honor all veterans, past and present. The Vigil will begin with congressman Mike Conway speaking during the ROTC Reunion at 6 p.m. Conway is serving his fourth term, representing the 11th Congressional District of Texas. He is a graduate of A&M-Commerce, obtaining his BBA in Accounting in 1970. Admission is $25 for adults and $10 for students.
— A Reading of the Fallen is scheduled from 2 until 4 p.m. Sunday at Park Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation, 3500 Park Street in Greenville. There will be a reading of 1,750 names of fallen veterans to correspond with an event happening simultaneously throughout the nation. Those wanting additional information can contact Tonya Flanagan or Jason Hicks at 903-455-2220 or Dawn Fletcher at 903-441-5969.
— Monday’s activities at Texas A&M University-Commerce will begin with a Veterans Vigil Reception in the Rayburn Student Center. Oats will be the keynote speaker, honoring the 65th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and will end at 11 a.m. in the Student Center Conference Rooms.
— A Military Fly-by between the Science Building and Rayburn Student Center on campus is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday.
— Monday’s final event at Texas A&M University-Commerce campus is scheduled for 7 p.m. with an Aubrey Lynn & Yellow Rose Concert, sponsored by Ben E. Keith, at the Amphitheater on campus.
— Tuesday’s events will begin at 9 a.m. with a Veterans Benefit & Job Fair at the Rayburn Student Center Conference Rooms .
— A 5K Run sponsored by the Student Veteran Association and Walking mall is set for between 2 and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
— The University Chorale will perform Closing Ceremonies at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday
— The Veterans Vigil will end at 6 p.m. Nov. 17 with a Veterans Appreciation Ball in the Rayburn Student Center Conference Rooms. The event will be sponsored by the Student Veteran Association. Tickets for the events must be purchased in advance.
Those wanting additional information on the Veterans Vigil or related activities may contact Jessica Gosset at Jessica_Gossett@tamuc.edu or 903-886-5069.