McDuffie County loves its military veterans. That love was on display this past Thursday as Veterans Day celebrations took place across the area.
The Thomson Rotary Club recognized its members who have served in the armed forces, and the Friends of the Thomson-McDuffie County Library held a ceremony at 5:30 p.m.
World War II veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor Roger Reid speaks during a Veterans Day ceremony at Shaw.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
The Shaw plant also held a program in honor of veterans working there. The event featured McDuffie County's lone Pearl Harbor survivor Roger Reid as guest speaker.
"It's an honor to have been asked. It's a privilege," Mr. Reid said prior to the event. "There's a lot of veterans who have done a lot more than I have."
Mr. Reid, a 22-year Army veteran, saw action in World War II, the Korean conflict as well as Vietnam. He shared some of his experiences from each war with the crowd, including the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Out of 16 awards and decorations Mr. Reid has earned during his military service, the one he said he was thankful for avoiding was the Purple Heart. He said today's military with the new equipment and technology is very different from his days in the service.
Through all the memories of his service, one thing is for sure: Veterans Day is a special time of year for Mr. Reid.
"It means a whole lot. I think it's our day to be recognized by the citizens of our country who are not veterans," he said. "It's wonderful that they've set aside this day for us."
In other celebrations, a medley of the songs from each branch of service was played at the Rotary meeting. The club's veterans stood and were applauded during their branch's song. During the invocation, local dentist Tommy Neal expressed thanks for the sacrifices made by military personnel.
Jan McTier speaks to the audience at the local library.
Photo by Jerrie MacIntire
At the ceremony in the library filled with veterans and other visitors, military wives gave a different Veterans Day perspective as they recapped the challenges of holding down the home front while their husbands were away.
Guest speakers Jan McTier and Fran Stevens gave first-hand accounts of the circumstances involved with remaining behind while their spouses were deployed.
The women spoke to a full house, which included Gale Sitton who attended for two important reasons. She felt the need to honor veterans because she was reared in a military family, and she wanted to show respect for those who recognize the importance of protecting the country.
"I don't know how anyone could feel otherwise," she said.
Emily Baumann agreed, and said she attended because "It's very important for our country to honor those people who represent us."