Ponte Vedra Valley funeral home held its 18th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony Nov. 11, recognizing the service and sacrifice of America’s military men and women.
Held at the Ponte Vedra Valley cemetery, the ceremony involved numerous local community groups that came together to pay tribute to the nation’s veterans. Participants ranged in age from middle school Boy Scouts to senior citizens, who came together to say “thank you.”
“Be sure that when you say, ‘Thanks for your service,’ that it comes from the heart and is not some politically correct statement with little thought,” retired U.S. Army Col. Dan Davis told attendees. “It is not simply enough to bow to the protocol of another legal holiday. We need a new commitment to America and what she ought to be in the world.”
After members of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club paraded around the cemetery, the formal ceremony began with members of Nease High School’s nationally recognized NJROTC unit presenting the colors. Following behind the color guard was Nease Cadet Anna Thorsness – granddaughter of Medal of Honor recipient Leo Thorsness – who led the riderless horse through the cemetery. Members of Boy Scout Troop 288 escorted members of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution as they presented wreaths recognizing Veterans Day and the service men and women the day honors.
Col. Davis, the ceremony’s guest speaker, said he had often pondered the common characteristics shared by all veterans. “Time and again” he said, “the words that come to mind are patriotism, duty, sacrifice, love of country, accomplishing the mission and losing oneself in a cause that is bigger than oneself.”
He thanked veterans for defending America and her citizens from those who would threaten our freedoms.
“Liberty is a fragile reality that is easily set aside by the insidious actions of those with other agendas,” Davis said. “There are always those who would rather control people than to set them free. That’s where our veterans come into play.”
He stressed, however, that the duty of defending America’s freedoms rests not solely with her veterans, but with us all.
“Liberty and freedom are only guaranteed as a result of a bold commitment by every one of us,” Davis said. “….Hopefully, every one of us is inspired to build a better community, a better country and a much better world. God bless our veterans and God bless America.”