Hundreds attend local Veteran’s Day ceremony

By Jim McCabe on November 11 at 4:52pm

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On a cloudy, windy Veteran’s Day Ceremony, featured speaker James DeWitt Johnson, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army who actively served in the war in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, opened his remarks by talking about the weather.

He explained how bad weather conditions are the best conditions to attack for infantrymen in a conflict because the enemy isn’t expecting it.

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Johnson, who is from Springfield, served in the Army from 1971 to 2009. He told the hundreds gathered at Nichols Park how veterans of older wars like in Korea and Vietnam need to get their stories out before they become like World War I vets, all of whom have died.

“There are so many experiences that can’t be captured in a textbook, and the oral tradition of any war is important so that the younger generations can fully understand the sacrifices and what servicemen and women went through,” he says.

Johnson adds that people should not think of Veteran’s Day as a holiday, but rather as a holy day.

“The original meeting of holiday was holy day, based on the Catholic Church’s holy days of obligation- Christmas and Easter are some- but it came to be called a holiday for short rather than holy day,” explains Johnson.

“And to use the term ‘holy day’ brings a sacred element back to its original meaning, and I believe Veteran’s Day is a sacred holiday- a sacred holy day.”

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Veteran’s Day coincides with Armistice Day, which marks the anniversary of the end of World War I, which happened in 1918.

TOP PICTURE: Three-year-old Sidney Mitchell holds an American flag standing behind her grandmother, Patty Dunmire. Mitchell’s great grandfather served in World War II.