GRAFTON—Throughout the course of history, the United States has seen difficult times, but one thing that has always been constant is young men and women stepping forward to answer the call when the country needed it the most.
Men and woman all throughout the nation came together to honor those men and women, who have jumped into action defending the United States when outside forces threaten the livelihood and freedoms of its citizens, on Saturday.
In Grafton, folks came out in the cold to show their support of veterans, locally and nationally, during the annual Veteran’s Day Parade and Ceremony.
During the parade, Veterans joined ranks with first responders, churches, organizations, bands and dance corps to show their respect. Parade Marshall Charles F. Bartlett, U.S. Army 242nd Infantry Division, WWII, was present as a face of the struggles and victories of military personnel throughout the country.
This year’s parade weaved its way from the old Elk’s building in downtown Grafton to the Grafton National Cemetery, located on Walnut Street.
Following the parade, a ceremony was held honoring those who have served and are currently serving the in United States military.
Grafton Mayor Peggy Barney was on hand to read a proclamation, declaring Saturday, November 11, 2017, as Veteran’s Day in the city, asking that all individuals take notice of the sacrifices veterans often endure for the freedoms of the nation.
“The men and women who have served in our Armed Forces have made a major contribution to the perseveration of America’s freedom, and the gallant Americans serving in today’s Armed Forces continue to demonstrate the unselfish willingness of our nation to meet the challenge of the forces seeking world domination through armed conflict,” Barney read.
She went on to announce that the nation and the free world are forever grateful for the contributions of those Americans.
“I, Peggy Knotts Barney, Mayor of the City of Grafton, on behalf of the Grafton City Council and the Veteran’s Day Committee, do hereby call upon all citizens of Grafton to observe Saturday, November 11, 2017, as Veteran’s Day, and ask that this day be observed with appropriate ceremonies in honor of those who have borne the burden in defense of our freedom,” she proclaimed.
While Barney declared Veteran’s Day in Grafton, this year’s speaker Keith Barnes, Director of the West Virginia and Grafton National Cemeteries, revealed that President Donald J. Trump declared Veteran’s Month.
“This month the President has declared as Veteran’s Month, not just Veteran’s Day or Veteran’s week,” Barnes said. “So, we commemorate America’s heroes and remember the sacrifices that they and their families have made.”
Barnes shared that he believed that the day was a day to remember the men and women who make the nation’s freedoms and rights possible each and every day.
“For more than 241 years of national independence, American patriots have stood watch over our liberty,” he explained. “The sacrifices of our Armed Forces have given us the security of freedom in which to grow and flourish as a nation.”
He said that the United States serves as a beacon of hope for those who have not secured the freedoms that Americans take for granted every day.
Barnes led in the presentation of wreaths, followed by members of the VFW Memorial City Post 3081 and Auxiliary. Lastly, a representative from the American Legion Post 12 and Auxiliary presented an honorary wreath to American veterans.
A military salute presented by the Taylor County Honor Guard echoed through the area, as each shot rang out for the service of all veterans.
Dave Robinson, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial City Post 3081, honored military men and women with the annual ringing of the bells and Lorraine Isner, Major United States Marine Corp Retired and member of the Taylor County Honor Guard, led in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Grafton High School Band, under the direction of Christopher Rucker, was also on hand at the event. They performed the National Anthem, Taps and the songs of each military branch.
The ceremony was concluded with a Benediction led by Pastor Casey Lieneman, of the Church of the Covenant.
“We thank you for the men and women’s whose blood is the measure of our debt in times of war, and for men and women of peace whose lives of service keeps the fabric of our nation together,” he prayed. “Continue to bless this great nation, and to be with the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces today.”