ROCKINGHAM – The Rockingham VFW Post 4203 was the site of Veterans’ Day ceremonies honoring military personnel on Saturday, November 11.
Fittingly commencing at 11 a.m. (the armistice of 1918 that ended WWI took effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month), the event began with a welcome from American Legion Post 147 Commander Carlton Hawkins.
Following the invocation by Chaplain David Williams, Bronze Star recipient Ronald Wallace sang the Star Spangled Banner and Lianna Carr led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Dr. Brent Hawkins was introduced as the guest speaker and proceeded to offer insight as to how the community could further the acclimation of veterans returning to the mainstream of society. With a Ph.D. in recreational therapy, Dr. Hawkins has researched approaches that most benefit veterans in conjunction with their transitional return to civilian life.
It was noted that medical advancements have significantly elevated the survival rate of combat veterans and that such news is certainly welcomed, it presents challenges for organizations charged with the responsibility of aiding veterans who experience problems upon leaving their military lifestyle.
“Social support and self-efficacy are the primary issues facing returning veterans,” said Dr. Hawkins. “The belief that one can overcome the challenges of life is a basic requirement for self-esteem and confidence.
“And the community can help by donating time and services to the organizations that assist veterans with their transitions,” he continued.
Rockingham VFW Post 4203 Memorial
Congressional candidate Mark Harris offered his support for such causes, noting his father’s experience as a prisoner of war during World War II.
“Dad was shot down over Holland and imprisoned from November of 1944 through the end of the war,” said Harris. “Growing up, I learned from him just how much bravery and dedication it took to serve in the military, so I have the utmost respect for these men and women who risk their lives to protect our freedom.”
The local chapter of AmVets Post 316 performed a demonstration of the flag folding procedure, relating the symbolic significance of each of the twelve intricate maneuvers.
A ceremonial laying of wreaths was conducted, with various military-related organizations offering their respects as they set the ornamental sprays in place across the cemetery grounds.
After a 21-gun salute by the AmVets and the playing of taps by Marching Raider Cameron McDonald, AmVets Chaplain Charlie Tyler closed the ceremony with his offering of the Benediction.
Thus concluded one singular aspect of the universal show of respect and honor for our military personnel, living and deceased, who serve to remind us that “all gave some; some gave all” in the protection of the ideals of the United States of America.