Remembering our veterans on Veterans Day

This Friday is Veterans Day, a day when America pauses to remember the men and women who have put themselves in harm’s way to defend our freedoms.

I’ve never been in the military, never served a day in my life, so I can’t even imagine all the pressures and stress that go along with serving in the armed forces. But there are many men and women in Shelby County who have done just that.

There are about 14,000 veterans in Shelby County alone, according to Harry Moon, the Veterans Service Officer for Shelby County. It’s important for us to remind these brave men and women how much they mean to us every day, but especially on Veterans Day.

The Calera Elks are holding their annual Veterans Dinner on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. All veterans and their families are invited.

The American Legion Post 131 in Columbiana is holding a pancake breakfast on Nov. 11 from 7-9 a.m. at the recreation center located at 93 Washington Street. Veterans eat free, and it’s $5 non-vets.

For more veterans’ events, please see our community calendar on page 12C.

The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce and the city of Columbiana got the week started off with an hour-long ceremony Sunday afternoon to honor the county’s veterans.

The ceremony was held in front of the Shelby County war memorial, a marker erected in 1954 and listing the names of those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for us all.

Ret. Admiral Clyde Marsh, the current director of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, served as the guest speaker for the event, and he closed his 12-minute speech by reminding everybody of the impact veterans have on our lives.

“It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion,” he said. “It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom of assembly. It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us right to a fair trial. It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us that right to vote.”

Brad Gaskins is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 14 or by email at brad.gaskins@shelbycountyreporter.com.