GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County residents and veterans gathered in Gallipolis City Park on Wednesday to celebrate Veterans Day and remember the sacrifices of those who had served in the American armed forces.
Gallia County Veterans Service Office Staff Executive Director John Thomas served as master of ceremonies for the day’s events. He asked the crowd to stand with him as they faced the American flag waving above the Doughboy Memorial as 9-year-old Bailey Bardett led the crowd in the singing of the National Anthem.
Thomas asked Pastor Michael Lynn to lead the invocation prayer. River Valley High School Phoenix Show Choir sang “God Bless America” to onlookers.
Thomas introduced the various commanders and representatives of local veteran organizations. Bill Mangus appeared to represent VFW Post 4464, Charles Huber represented America Legion Post 27, Bob McCarley represented American Legion Post 161, Keith Jeffers appeared to represent Disabled American Veterans as well as Gallia County AMVETS, and Larry Marr represented Vietnam Vets. Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War also appeared to lend support to the day’s festivities.
Thomas introduced Lt. Col. Dan Faulkner to speak for the day’s events. Faulkner currently holds the office of state surgeon in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Ohio. He joined the VFW in 1991 once he returned from Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Faulkner served in the U.S. Air Force from 1977 to 2003.
Faulkner thanked the community for appearing to support local veterans’ efforts and sacrifices over the years, as well as those freshly entering military service. He spoke of the historical significance of Veterans Day which coincided with Armistice Day.
The holiday is commemorated every year which marks the anniversary when the the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, signed documents ceasing hostilities on the Western Front which took place, as Faulkner mentioned at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.
Faulkner spoke of the greatest respect for his comrades in the armed services, but most particularly of his father as his personal hero for his service in the U.S. Navy in World War II and as a parent. Faulkner compared himself to his father at the varying ages of their lives and where the two of them stood in difference in their desires and goals.
Lynn led the benediction at the close of the ceremony and the Gallia County Funeral Detail conducted a ceremonial rifle firing and the playing of “Taps.”
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.