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Senior center site Friday for honoring veterans

November 14, 2018

By Jack Swift
Johnson County Historian

Turnout was great Friday for observance of the annual Veterans Day activities at the Senior Center. The program was perhaps the largest crowd to assemble to honor veterans at the Johnson County Senior Center. While Veterans Day falls normally on November 11, this year due to it being on Sunday, some organizations chose Friday or Saturday for the observance. Friday was the time set for this year’s program at the center.

Patriotic songs were sung, including a rousing rendition of “God Bless the USA,” by Lindsey DeBord Yoggerest. Kathy Motsinger is the Senior Center Director. Ms. Motsinger introduced her grandfather Hugh Walker who is 98 and a veteran of WWII. He and Kathy’s grandson who is also his great, great grandson led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.

A delicious meal was served to those in attendance. The Blue Ridge Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was on hand to honor veterans and to show appreciation for their service. Each veteran present was presented a very interesting Book and some other gifts. The book titled “When A Blue Star Turns To Gold “ was written by Johnson County Author Janet Cress Payne. At a time in the service each veteran was asked to stand as their service song was sung.

Following the end of World War I (originally called The Great War) an Armistice (temporary suspension of hostilities) was signed between the Allied Nations and Germany on the 11th hour, the 11th day and the 11th month. On November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with these words:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with great gratitude for the victory, both from the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” And it became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. It is a day to honor America’s veterans for their love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.