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Port Orange Observer Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 1 year ago

Port Orange community comes together for Veterans Day Memorial Ceremony

The ceremony began at 10 a.m. at City Center.
by: Nichole Osinski Community Editor

The morning may have started out with rain, but that didn't stop people from coming to Veterans Park to honor those individuals who have served their country during the Veterans Day Memorial Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 11. 

The Veterans Day event began at 10 a.m. at City Center where many veterans had gathered, representing different branches of the military, having served in various wars and each with their own unique story. Some of them, like Elmer J. Hawkins, were able to tell parts of their stories. 

Hawkins, a World War II Marine veteran, spoke to the crowd about growing up with a father who was a Marine in World War I and how that gave him an appreciation for those who have served their country. 

Veterans post the Nation's colors during the Veterans Day Ceremony. Photo by Nichole Osinski

"I had known nothing but Marine and patriotism from the time I was old enough to remember," Hawkins said. "Veterans mean an awful lot to me."

Vietnam veteran Col. James Dearborn was also present and spoke about his dream to be a fighter pilot. That dream came true and he was not only a pilot but an instructor who completed more than 200 missions and has 450 flight hours. 

"I love my country," Dearborn said. "It's been a pleasure doing duty on behalf of my country."

Students sing “Yankee Doodle Dandy" at City Center. Photo by Nichole Osinski

After the Nation's colors were posted and a group of young students sang "Yankee Doodle Dandy," Rep. Ron DeSantis gave a short history on Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, which marks when an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany on Nov. 11, 1918.

In 1968, Congress moved the holiday to the last Monday in October. However, the decision received backlash, and Veterans Day was eventually reinstated to Nov. 11. 

"When we're talking about honoring our veterans, we're talking about honoring people who write a check payable to the United States of America for any amount, up to including that individual's life," DeSantis said, adding, "We've always had the American veterans standing for freedom at the risk of their own lives and obviously many have given that last full measure of devotion."

Taps is played during the Veterans Day Memorial Ceremony. Photo by Nichole Osinski

The morning's ceremony ended with a wreath placed at the base of the Veterans Park memorial and Taps being played before a gun salute echoed through the air. 

"Throughout our nation's history, there has been a unique group of citizens who have selflessly stepped forward to protect the rest of our nation," Jose "Joe" Rosa, VFW commander for post 3282 said. "It is this small group, the mere seven percent of Americans who have ever served in our United States Armed Forces, who we celebrate and thank today. It is because of their dedication and sacrifice that we celebrate Veterans Day.



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