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City marks Veterans Day with parade
Nov 15, 2006 12:00 am
Citizens of Lebanon braved wind and cold temperatures to recognize and support their veterans Saturday as the city held its annual Veterans Day parade and memorial ceremony.
As the parade made its way down Main Street, residents were lining the street to greet the procession on its way to the courthouse.
"I'm glad to see everyone here today," Lt. Col Jim Henderson told the audience as he prepared to open the memorial cermony.
After a brief welcome address and the playing of the National Anthem, two Warbird planes flew over the courthouse to begin the event.
Henderson prepared a special presentation to recognize Wilson County's most decorated veteran, Sgt. Claude Walls, who passed away eight months ago. Walls received many medals including a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. To honor his memory, Henderson gave Walls' daughter, Bridgette Hankins, a framed photograph of her father and with an American flag.
The event's guest speaker was Mike Dover, a retired member of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and a veteran who Henderson said "is one of the most qulaified people I know to talk about his experiences and what the Army means to him."
Dover spoke of what it meant to honor veterans and about the future our country is facing.
"We're here today to help honor American veterans," he began. "The history of this day goes back to WWI."
He then talked about the beginnings of the holiday which was originally known as Armistice day.
"We observe Veteran's Day on a day when we were again at peace," Dover added. "But we do not have to wait until Nov. 11 to honor our veterans, we should honor them everyday."
In his brief speech, Dover noted the number of Americans who are recognized as veterans as well as the number who are currently on active duty in areas around the world. More than 25 million Americans wear the rank of Veteran today and there are almost 1.4 million servicemen and women who are serving active duty, he said.
"Those who serve and fight today are adding great achievements to this country's history," Dover concluded.
After the ceremony had concluded, all guests were invited to have free hot dogs provided by the American Legion and O'Neal Williams. Williams is an Army veteran of the 75th Infantry Division and has been offering the free hot dogs to patrons of the event for about 13 years.
"We started in the early 90s," he noted.
Despite the weather, organizers and participants alike were pleased with the turnout.
"I think we had a pretty good turnout for as cold as it was," County Mayor and parade Grand Marshal Robert Dedman said.
Staff Writer Kimberly Jordan can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at email@example.com.