ShareThis Page

Veterans honored at Ligonier ceremony

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 9:57 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Veteran John Darr of Laughlintown served in the Ligonier Valley Honor Guard during the Veterans Day service at the Ligonier Diamond Saturday. November 10, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

The Ligonier Valley High School marching band led a parade of veterans, boy scouts and Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets to begin Ligonier's annual Veterans Day ceremony Saturday.

In previous years, certain groups of veterans received special recognition, this year the focus was placed on thanking all veterans.

“To me, a veteran is someone who willingly served their country, whether it be a month, a year, five years, 20 years, whatever the case may be,” said Roy Hutchinson, commander of American Legion Byers-Tosh Post 267. “Some served in time of war, some did not, but one thing they have in common is they did what their country asked them to do. It doesn't matter if they are a uniform, or a prior uniform, we recognize all veterans.”

Air Force Lt. Col. William Campbell and Ligonier Valley High School Cadet Jared Bloom gave the keynote speeches for the day. Campbell now heads the JROTC program at the high school. However, one year ago he was deployed to the Persian Gulf. He worked with Central Command at the Air Operation Center, where he helped plan, organize and execute the withdrawal of 130,000 troops from Iraq. In his speech, Campbell stressed the need to support those who served and continue to serve in the Middle East.

“We cannot forget the 4,483 killed in action and more than 33,000 wounded who continue to need our support. The war in Afghanistan has been going for 11 years and will continue for some time. We must also remember the 2,100 that were killed there and the 1,700 and counting that were wounded from that particular conflict. Our gratitude and support is our pledge to our veterans of all wars,” Campbell said.

He said the annual Veterans Day communique released by the Secretary of the Air Force said, “Every veteran, past and present, has a story. Some served in war time, others during moments of peace. Many were volunteers others were called. Some served a matter of days, while others gave their life's worth to the profession of arms. All deserve our deepest gratitude.”

Bloom talked about his family's involvement with the military and what Veterans Day means to him.

“It is a huge honor to speak in front of all these veterans,” Bloom said. “It takes a special type of person to be able to dedicate their life so that people they have never known or met, who wake up every day and know whatever they are going to do throughout the day, they are going to be safe. That is the reason Veterans Day is important to me and why it is so imperative that we all remember our veterans and thank them every time we see them.”

Other speakers for the day included American Legion chaplain Jim Tobias; Marty Jackson, a veteran of the U.S. Navy representing women who have served; Dave Hunter, commander of VFW Post 734; Janet Cairns and Penny Williams, presidents of the American Legion and VFW Ladies Auxiliaries; Rich Griser, 3rd officer of the VFW; and Ligonier Mayor Ormond “Butch” Bellas.

After reading his traditional proclamation, Bellas said, “If it wasn't for these guys and these ladies, our lives would be very different today. Thank you very much.”

The ceremony closed with the playing of “Taps,” followed by “America the Beautiful” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” by the Ligonier Valley High School band, as well as members of the honor guard raised the American flag.

Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.