HALEYVILLE - A Veterans Day celebration was given in honor of veterans in the Slaughter Fellowship Hall at the First United Methodist Church on Monday, Nov. 5.
The beginning of the ceremony started with the procession of 16 veterans from various wars. Presentation of colors were performed by Cub Scout Troop 97 of Haleyville. After pledges, the playing of the national anthem by the Haleyville High School band, and welcome by Mark Burleson, Aubrey Haynes gave an introduction of all veterans in attendance and their families.
“It’s my pleasure to introduce our very special guests we have tonight,” Haynes said. “We have several different armed forces represented here tonight.”
The band then gave an instrumental tribute of “Veteran’s Salute” to all military branches.
Those veterans in attendance were Albert Rivera, Mark Wakefield, Jim Banks, Buford Thompson, Tim Williams, Scott Knight, Keith Blaylock, Edward Poolos, Mitchell Nethery, Thomas Gilbert, Hugh Plott, Kenneth Swims, Toby Yarbrough, Bryan Lawler, Wade Head and Dwight Thomas.
Hugh Plott gave the introduction of speaker Mitch Nethery, Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) and also pastor at FUMC.
“It’s easy to act right when you’re around home,” Plott said of military deployed. “I’ve deployed with Bro. Mitch. You go through some of the worst times of your life when deployed. You see a lot of what people is really made of when they get in that situation. I can tell you right now, Bro. Mitch is the same guy he is here, over there. What you see is what you get. He is a friend, a person you can talk to.”
“Why should Americans serve in the military?” asked Nethery. Because we are free, to protect those who are defenseless and because it is our duty were the answers he gave.
“If it’s not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
Nethery continued to describe each war from World War I forward and how the U.S. entered each war.
“We went over there and suffered and bled and died in one of the most brutal and bloody wars that has ever been on the face of this earth,” Nethery described of World War I.
“Instead of shaking them to pieces, we shook them awake, and we awoke a sleeping giant,” Nethery spoke of Japan and the bombing at Pearl Harbor, which brought the U.S. into World War II.
“(It’s not) a conflict. If you’re the one dug in, it’s war!” he said while speaking of the Korean War.
“Look at a picture of Korea at night. Look at North Korea. You don’t see any lights. Look at South
Korea, and it looks like New York City. What’s the difference? America is the difference! We showed up.”
“Why do we serve? I want to tell you why I serve. I serve because it’s a privilege to serve, and it’s an honor to serve. I serve because we have something worth serving. I serve because I’m an American. I don’t serve for any other reasons. I am a free American today. I got Dutch-Irish heritage. I don’t go around saying, ‘Hey, I’m Mitch Netherton. I’m Dutch-Irish.’ I come from Beaverton, Alabama. I’m not a Beaverton-American. I’m just an American, plain and simple,” Nethery said excitedly to the applause of those attending.
Remember back,” Nethery told the audience. “On July 4, 1776, there were some folks that got together. They were tired of being told what they were going to do. They said, ‘We’re gonna be free, and we’re gonna be sovereign. We’re going to establish a nation where you can have the freedom to worship. We’ll govern ourselves.’ The world laughed. But America was born, and we’ve become really strong. God’s been on our side.”
Jerry Howell then lead the audience in a choral tribute of “God Bless America.”
At the end of the program, the band once again performed an instrumental tribute titled
“American Flourishes.” The band was led by Assistant Director Judd Williams.
Veterans Day was Sunday, Nov. 11. Many businesses closed in observance of the holiday on Monday.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.