By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Nov. 11 — A quiet sense of pride hung in the air Thursday morning as members of the community gathered outside the VFW hall and saluted a multitude of flags symbolizing both a way of life, and those who provided it.
“We have a simple, but heartfelt message,” American Legion Post #22 Commander Richard Worrell told veterans in attendance, “thank you, thank you, thank you.”
About 75 people gathered at Comer-Jones Post #621 just east of Luray for a Veteran’s Day ceremony hosted by the local VFW and Legion posts. Shortly after the clock struck the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, Worrell lead out the colors as captain of the Legion’s Honor Guard before later delivering the keynote address.
“We, the living, are the beneficiaries of those who made sacrifices for our liberties,” the Legion commander said. “We owe so much to those who defended the greatest document of the greatest nation ever known…the Constitution.”
Worrell told the story of an Airborne medic who received the Silver Star after saving 20 lives in Vietnam while the blood of his own wounds soaked through his bandages. He reminded the crowd that there are “hundreds of [such veterans] all across this country.”
“These are people who set aside their life goals, personal ambitions…set aside their dreams…for unwavering service to America,” Worrell said. “These people sought neither fortune nor fame…to preserve our democracy, so all of us can live our lives freely.
“We owe these heroes,” he continued. “We ask our heavenly Father to make us better servants of our country and better stewards of the liberties granted to us…that we may not forget those who paid a heavy price protecting us and protecting our nation time and time again.”
Local evangelist Doug Gochenour sang an endearing version of the National Anthem at the event, and Legion chaplain Andrea Schweigert offered a prayer for the service that called on those in attendance to “let no [veteran] feel neglected.”
Advance Auto provided gift baskets presented to the youngest veteran in attendance from each branch of military service. The Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW and Legion posts provided lunch after the 30-minute ceremony.
In his closing remarks, VFW Post Commander Luke Bedortha reminded those gathered for the Veteran’s Day event to truly hear the message of the day and “take it to heart” and help veterans in their “journey to heal.”
“The most important thing…,” Bedortha said, “…as I look out and see all these veterans with their patches and insignia representing their branches and units…taking pride in their service. We hope you feel that pride too.”
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