Veterans Day is Nov. 11 and, as always, Lebanon is pulling out all the stops to honor those who have served and those still serving.
“The day falls on Sunday this year and will be observed in Lebanon on that date, the designated day,” said Ret. Lt. Col. Jim D. Henderson, coordinator and emcee of the event. "
The 2012 Veterans Day observance is co-sponsored in Lebanon by American Legion Post 15 and the city of Lebanon.
"It will be a big day here with a parade, ceremony, placing a wreath to the county’s war dead and honoring all veterans and Gold Star mothers," he said.
Veterans Day, originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who have served in the nation's armed services.
Henderson said the parade this year will feature two grand marshals, both from World War II and both in their original, complete uniforms. These members of the Greatest Generation - Army Air Corps 1st Lt. George James and Chief Petty Officer Donald Gilbert, both of Wilson County, will share the honors.
Military units and vehicles, veterans marching and riding, veteran’s organizations and auxiliaries, youth units, emergency vehicles, civic organizations and bands will step off at 10:30 a.m. from the Wilson County Library branch at Hatton Avenue on West Main Street. The parade will travel around the Lebanon Town Square to the Wilson County Courthouse for the ceremony, which will begin promptly at 11 a.m.
The day's events will include a 5K run as well. Bernie Ash heads the Wilson County Veteran's Service Office and is, himself, a veteran. He said Lebanon does a good job honoring veterans.
"It's always been very well attended, this year it's on Sunday so I not sure how that affect it. But we always have a very nice parade," Ash said. "This year we will have a 5K run in conjunction with Veterans Day."
He said the run is open to everyone.
"It will start and end at the courthouse. At 7 a.m. we'll have a small religious service, followed by registration and then we'll get started," Ash said. "Some of the runners who are veterans will probably stop at the library and follow the parade in, and others will come on back to the courthouse and meet the parade there.
He said it's not too late to sign up for the 5K, and the money raised will go to the Veteran's Park and Museum that is in the works.
"Anyone who wants to join the run can call us here at the Veteran's Office," he said. "The more veterans the better in the parade."
Navy Capt. John Bentley, a fighter and commercial pilot with 30 years military service, will give the principal address. The day will include words by the Post 15 chaplain, a salute to all veterans of the county and recognition of the county's Gold Star mothers. The event will culminate with the placing of the wreath at the county Veteran's Monument. The event will close with taps by the Watertown High School Band.
“You are invited and urged to attend the parade and ceremony and show your love for our country and those who defend it,” Henderson said.
For more information about the 2012 Veterans Day observance, call 615-428-6271.