Bell tolls for veterans at American Village

Published 4:31pm Monday, November 11, 2013

By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – Veterans and their loved ones rang a bell in honor of active and retired veterans Nov. 11 as part of American Village’s annual Veterans Day Salute, which involved guided tours of the campus and presentations on various aspects of colonial life.

At the final presentation, just prior to the ringing of the bell, U.S. Air Force Maj. Judy O’Neil got to learn about the inner workings of the Continental Army by becoming the “captain” of a squad of visitors carrying broomsticks, or “muskets.”

Before O’Neil, a visitor herself, could lead the group, a living historian with American Village representing Continental Army Col. Christopher Greene swore the group in.

“Repeat after me,” he said. “I affirm to remain true to the United States and to serve them against all opposition. I am to obey the Congress, the commander-in-chief and all those placed above me by them.”

Greene then showed the group how to load their “muskets,” using sounds like “click,” “spit,” “ping” and “bang” to mimic the step that would be taken to load an actual musket.

The demonstration ended with the squad marching in ranks with their broomsticks and shouting a loud “Huzzah!” to break ranks.

Judy O’Neil participated in the Veterans Day Salute program with her husband, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bob O’Neil, and their two sons, ages 10 and 6. The O’Neils, who live in Pelham, have accumulated 50 years of service and have served in every branch of the military between them.

“We came to help teach our boys and to help our boys learn some more history,” Judy O’Neil said.

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