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Veterans offer thoughts on day
Jun 02, 2004 12:00 am
The solemn remembrance of Wilson County's fallen soldiers was marked by a ceremony at the Wilson County Courthouse early Monday morning, with several veterans offering their thoughts on what the day means to them.
Featured guest speaker Jack Bowers, a retired captain of the U.S. Navy, honored the soldiers on the ground who bear the greatest burden of upholding the goals of the nation.
"We are enjoying a golden age in America because they gave their lives," Bowers said. "There have been a lot of changes in the armed services, but there is one thing that will never change and that is the man or the woman who carries a rifle in the trenches. That is where the boots meet the ground and that will never change. It is our responsibility to see that they have everything they need to serve this great country."
Bowers noted that it is the veteran soldier who has made possible the freedoms we enjoy today – freedom of the press, the freedom to vote (or not to vote) and freedom to express opinions.
Ed Cook, a special forces veteran, shared his thoughts on those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"Even as we gather here today, we are receiving our war dead at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware," Cook noted. "I wrote down a number on this paper, but that number has already changed. Eight hundred and three dead in Iraq to date.
"What a sacrifice," he continued. "Let us always remember our heritage and the men and women who sacrifice their lives."
Thurman Mullins, a corpsman during the Vietnam conflict and park ranger at Long Hunter State Park, shared his thoughts on the solemn day, noting that Tennessee got its nickname, "The Volunteer State," when during the Mexican War, President James K. Polk requested allotments of soldiers from each state, with Tennessee being asked to provide 2,500.
"Thirty-thousand answered the call," Mullins said. "The tradition carries on and reminds us that freedom isn't free."
City of Lebanon Ward 5 Councilor Jim Mills noted that he is a second-generation combat veteran, his father having served in the Phillipines in World War II.
"This is a special day for me," Mills said. "Slowly, America is losing the importance of this day."
Mills, a veteran of the Vietnam War, said it is important to preserve the memories of those who sacrificed their lives for America.
Other veterans who participated in the service were Keese Phillips, J.D. Kilzer and Jim Denton.
Staff Writer Corinne Galeano can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 15 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.