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Wilson county honors veterans

Angie Mayes • Nov 13, 2017 at 10:19 PM

Dozens of entries, including veterans of wars from World War II to the more recent and present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, lined up on Main Street on Saturday to take part in the annual Wilson County Veterans’ Day parade.

The veterans, along with high school JROTC troops, bands and scout groups, came together to march in the parade and support those who have fought for American freedoms.

See a full gallery of photos from the event.

After the parade, which began at Lebanon Public Library and ended at Wilson County Veterans Plaza, was a special ceremony, honoring veterans of all branches of the military and all wars.

“Veterans are men and women who took the oath to defend the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Vietnam veteran Terry Yates said to the crowd of more than 100 gathered at Veterans Plaza. “This is to enable people like you to have the freedom that we have today. Today, we thank those who served and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

Retired Capt. Bill Moss, a former Army reservist who saw action in Operation Desert Shield-Desert Storm, was the guest speaker. After basic training, he enrolled in jump school and parachute rigger school. He received his commission as Lieutenant and began as commander of the 861st QM Company, which was deployed during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

While deployed, he dropped 2,000 tons of aerial containers to feed the Kurds in northern Iraq. He retired from the Army in 1996. He is presently an employee of the Wilson County School system. He has worked as an assistant principal, superintendent of schools, principal of the Wilson County Vocational Center and supervisor of career technical education.

 “We took sewing machines to the sandbox and sewed 100,000 troops’ uniforms so they [could] come back with good patches on their uniforms,” Moss said.

He told of the reason Veterans Day is celebrated each Nov. 11.

“We’re here today for the 99th anniversary of the ending of World War I,” Moss said. “I want to talk to you today about what Veterans Day means to me. It’s humbling beyond belief to stand up here and represent my brothers and sisters who are veterans, because we are a family.”

He related different stories about things that happened to him while he was in the service. The humorous stories were often greeted by a “hoorah” from the crowd.

He said there are three days a year when military personnel are honored. The first is the second Saturday in May, which is Armed Forces Day. That is for those who are on active duty and “protecting us,” Moss said. “The second is the last Monday in May, which is Memorial Day. The last is Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day.”

Eight Gold Star families were also recognized during the ceremony. A Gold Star family is one who has lost a family member in the service.

The flags of all five branches of the military, as well as the POW/MIA flag, were raised during the event. Music, which represented each flag or branch, was also played during the raising of the flags.

The grand marshal of the parade was Wilson County Commissioner and veteran Jerry McFarland. He retired after 33 years of active and reserve duty in the Army and the Tennessee Army National Guard, said event emcee Bob Haley. 

He served as an Army recruiter and retention manager for the Army National Guard, as well, Haley said.

Bryli Evans sang the national anthem, and Caitlyn Ferrell sang “America the Beautiful” during the event.

“Let’s not just make Veterans’ Day one day a year,” Yates said. “Offer thanks to veterans of all kinds all throughout the year.”

Moss made similar remarks, as well, noting when someone sees a veteran with a military hat on, stop to recognize them.

“That’s all we want,” Moss said. “We don’t want a bunch of accolades. All we want is a thank you. So never, never miss the opportunity to thank somebody who was a vet. That’s all we want. That’s all we require.”

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