With Veterans Day on Monday, the McMinnville-Warren County Senior Center honored veterans in the community by showing appreciation for their service and holding a luncheon.
Over 70 veterans and visitors were in attendance for the Thursday ceremony.
“It was important for me to do a program on a separate day from Veterans Day so they would have the opportunity to attend other events celebrating their service,” said Lana Whitlock, executive director of the Senior Center.
Veterans, spouses and family members gathered to share stories, enjoy fellowship and savor a meal catered by Bad Boys BBQ, J’s Restaurant, Prater’s BBQ, Raintree Manor and NHC Nursing Home.
The event began with an invocation by veteran Dick Scott-Welch followed by the colors being presented by American Legion Post 173, a performance of the national anthem by Cora Youngblood of Caney Fork Electric and a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance led by veteran Tyler Young.
Following opening activities, veteran Dan Sellers of Edward Jones gave a speech where he thanked each veteran for protecting the country’s freedom. Veterans of Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq and others were each honored for their services, as well as the only World War II veteran in attendance, J.C. Womack.
“It’s important to recognize our veterans regardless of their age or where they served,” says Whitlock.
Member of the board of directors for the Senior Center, 20-year veteran, author and public figure Wayne Wolford, gave a heartfelt speech explaining both the good and bad aspects of serving while focusing on the importance in doing so.
Wolford said all veterans share a sense of communion regardless of where and when they served. He said as a member or veteran of the military, individuals become part of a special family with mutual respect and shared understanding. Wolford also recognized the veterans’ spouses for the strength and support given at home while their significant other serve their country.
“It’s always important to keep our veterans in mind because we were the ones who stood on the front lines to make sure we had the freedom to do what we want,” says Wolford. “Without that freedom, we would be in a world of hurt right now.”
The Senior Center will be partnering with the Noon Exchange Club to hold the fourth annual Salute to Our Veterans ceremony in the gym of Bobby Ray Elementary on Monday, Nov. 11, beginning at 5:30 p.m.