Big turnout on perfect day for Veterans Day ceremony

J. Michael Ross
The TSU Color Guard marches to present the Colors at the Veterans Day celebration. The crowd was estimated at between 150 and 200 people.

The annual Veterans Day Ceremony was held at the Erath County Courthouse on a beautiful Friday morning with a crowd of between 150 and 200 veterans members of their families, friends and well-wishers in attendance.

Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post 240 hosted the event which was the 95th revival of the ceremony.

Burton Smith, commander of Post 240, welcomed the crowd and quoted Gary Hart, ”I think there is one higher office than president and I would call that patriot,” and another by Elmer Davis, “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”

Smith then introduced keynote speaker, Marine Corps Battle of Fallujah, [Iraq] and Afghanistan War veteran and multiple Purple Heart recipient Jimmy Bell. Bell is from Stephenville and his stepfather and brothers are all Marine Corp veterans as well.

As Commander Smith explained in an earlier interview with the E-T, “Jimmy is the first War on Terror-era veteran to be the keynote speaker and it gives us all a chance to recognize the service of our military people from this era. Of course all veterans from all eras and those serving now are being honored on Veterans Day as well.”

Bell, a TSU graduate, worked for FMC Technologies before recently joining the firearms industry. He’s married to the former Lauren Shipman of Huckabay and they have three children.

Speaking on his 10th wedding anniversary, Bell addressed various forms of service: “Today we are recognizing the service of people who have been in the military; that’s what this ceremony is about and I am honored to have been able to serve our country with my fellow Marines and to be a veteran.

“I think it’s also important to remember that most people perform service in a variety of ways. Service to God, each other and the community - taking care of your family is service - people doing something of value for little or no personal gain, and people all around us do it all the time. I am very grateful for that.”

Highlights of the morning’s event were:

• Opening Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance

• TSU ROTC Color Guard posting the Colors

• Rifle Salute by TSU Cadets

• Playing of “Taps”

• Laying of Wreath at the Veterans Monument

Coffee and donuts were provided by Erath County United Way and InterBank.