Veterans saluted during services across county


Nearly a dozen Veterans Day services that included veterans, their families, schoolchildren and others have been conducted in recent days in Jackson County to honor veterans of the U.S. military.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend one of those events, there’s still time to do so because there are several planned for Saturday, which is officially Veterans Day.

The list of those events includes a free early bird meal from 8 to 10 a.m. at American Legion Post 89 in Seymour, followed by a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. and a free lunch afterwards; free soup and sandwiches from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1083 in Crothersville; a ceremony at 11 a.m. at the veterans memorial at Gaiser Park in Seymour presented by VFW Post 1925 in Seymour; and a soup supper and euchre tournament free to veterans that starts at 4:30 p.m. at the senior citizens center in Freetown. That event is sponsored by the Pershing Township Lions Club.

On Thursday morning, the annual Veterans Day service was conducted at the Jackson County Courthouse in Brownstown.

The VFW Post 1925 honor guard participated in that service — something it does many times throughout the community each year.

For retired Marine Corps veteran Mike Wright of Seymour, there was one point in particular shortly before that service started that stood out.

“It was the best part of the day,” Wright said as third-graders from Brownstown Elementary School presented veterans at the ceremony with cards that students had made in school earlier in the week.

Wright served in the Marine Corps from 1991 to 2001 but did a second 11-year stint with the National Guard from 2010 to 2021.

“I was one of the last 500 out of Iraq in 2011,” he said.

While with the National Guard, Wright also was deployed to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 2016 and 2017 and spent time as a company commander on the southwest border with Mexico in 2020 and 2021.

Wright has been a member of VFW Post 1925 since 2010 and has been involved in the honor guard for a number of years.

He said it was good to see school kids were able to attend Thursday’s service.

Third-grader Alex Penrose said he liked the service and making the cards for veterans.

Classmate Ethan Zotz agreed.

“I liked it,” he said. “My papaw is a veteran.”

Gary Dyer, a Vietnam veteran and pastor at Seymour Harvest Church, was the speaker for the service. He said Veterans Day is about not forgetting the sacrifices veterans made so we could be free.

“We’re here today to honor our heroes — your courage, your achievements and to say thank you for sacrifices,” he said.

Dyer said he doesn’t wear his VFW hat to brag.

“I don’t want them to forget the cost that keeps us free today,” Dyer said.

After he talked about the importance of Veterans Day, he had a few thank-yous to pass around, including one to the schoolchildren for waving their flags on and off throughout the service and how veterans make that possible.

“There are some places where you can’t do that,” Dyer said.

He also thanked veteran Glen Killey of Brownstown for raising the flag at the start of the service; Brownstown resident Barry Cutter for giving the invocation; John Spurgeon, another Brownstown resident, who sang the National Anthem and “God Bless America;” the VFW Post 1925 honor guard; and everyone else who turned out for the service.

Emerson Elementary School

Family, friends and veterans gathered at First Baptist Church in Seymour on Thursday afternoon for a special program hosted by the students of Emerson Elementary School as they sang proudly to honor those who served.

Several students were bearing the colors of our nation’s flag and waving to their loved ones in the crowd before the Veterans Day program started.

Fourth-grader Harper Reynolds shared what Veterans Day means to her before taking the stage with her classmates.

“Veterans Day shows that everyone who served in the military is important and they have my heart,” she said. “The best way to honor a veteran is to respect them and give them thanks for their service.”

The program started with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Diana Ray and members of the Fort Vallonia Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.

A moment of silence was given for those who have lost their lives serving the country, and then veterans were asked to stand when their branch was called so everyone could honor them.

The students sang their hearts out to songs such as “This Land is Your Land,” “God Bless America,” “Better When We’re United” and many more while also using sign language so those with hearing impairments could enjoy the performance.

Medora Community Schools

For the second year in a row, members of the Medora High School FFA chapter organized a program saluting veterans that included a free breakfast for veterans and their families.

Hannah Martin, the new FFA adviser and agriculture teacher at Medora High School, said the breakfast was a good way to get the chapter’s 40 members involved in the community and teach them about leadership and organization.

She said she loved the idea of providing a breakfast for veterans.

“I feel like my kids are learning how to delegate tasks, and this is one their first few times on a stage talking to a crowd,” Martin said.

Chapter members conducted most of the program from the stage in the school cafeteria.

Junior Haylee Sons, who gave the invocation, said the process of putting the program together wasn’t really too hard.

“It’s really enjoyable because of bringing everyone together,” she said.

Classmate Dawson Cornett spent his time onstage thanking veterans for their service.

“I think this is really great seeing all the veterans here and the smiles,” he said.

Cornett said it was nice to get to know some of the veterans and their stories.

U.S. Navy veteran Bobbi Derheimer, who is a teacher at Medora and lives in Bedford, said she felt the FFA chapter members did a fantastic job of pulling the breakfast together.

“I’ve been to a lot veterans ceremonies, and the idea of providing a breakfast is a really cool thing,” she said.

After receiving a handmade card from a first grade student, U.S. Air Force veteran Russell Cross of Medora talked about his service.

“I always credit my dad with saving my life,” he said. “My orders were May 7, 1966, to go to Vietnam. April 28, I got called home because he was dying.”

Cross was discharged later that same year.

The kindergarten class performed a song for the veterans during the program, and first-graders gave cards they had made in class to each of the veterans.

Indiana Ninth District Congresswoman Erin Houchin also stopped by to spend time talking with veterans about their service and any needs she might be able to help address.

Brownstown Central High School

Students at Brownstown Central High School gathered in the auditorium for a convocation Friday morning to learn about different opportunities to honor veterans close to home.

Brownstown government and history teacher Brian Savilla spoke to the students, asking them what is the greatest act of love someone can give.

As he quoted from the Bible of John 15:13, he said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

“If you are willing to lay down your life for others, that is the greatest love of all,” Savilla said.

He said as veterans have sacrificed their lives for others and for their country, the least the students could do is honor their sacrifice and preserve it in history.

Savilla decided to challenge the students this year by interviewing a veteran through a program called the Veterans History Project.

According to the Library of Congress website, the project collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions so future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service.

“Imagine what it would mean to someone who laid down their lives for us that you sit down with them, listen to their story and show them that they are loved,” Savilla said.

After the convocation, a few students shared what Veterans Day means to them.

“My grandpa served in the Army, and it’s important that they know just how thankful we are for their service to this country,” senior Emily Reinbold said.

“Veterans Day is a day that you get to talk to those who laid down their lives for us and get their story,” senior Bryce Peak said. “We take the time and show them that we care. My dad served in the Army for five years, and my grandpa served in World War II, and I remember talking to him about it as a kid.”

Senior Tori Lokey, who has enlisted in the U.S. Army, said she honors those who have fought for freedom and is excited to serve her country.

“It’s important that we listen to their experiences and honor them because then we get a glimpse into what they sacrificed for our country,” she said.

No posts to display