BUCKHANNON – Rainfall did not stop the City of Buckhannon’s annual Veterans Day parade and ceremony from honoring the men and women who have served their country.
The Veterans Day parade and ceremony kicked off amidst steady rainfall Friday.
Kathy and Rex Stalnaker with VFW post 3663 introduced Pastor Ed McDaniels to start the ceremony with a prayer.
“Way back in 1918, on Armistice Day on the 11th month of the 11th hour on that 11th day, we were able to sign a document ending World War I,” McDaniels said. “Today is to honor those who are still living today, but as you’re surrounded with pictures of those who have who have defended our country, it’s good for us to come together to remember what a great country we live in because of the men and the women who sacrifice so much.”
McDaniels said he recently learned 1 percent of the population in the United States of America makes up the people that serve in the military.
“It’s one percent of the population of the United States of America that has left their homes, left their families to go God only knows where, to be able to defend this great nation we are in, so I want to be one to say thank-you to the men and women who sacrifice so much,” McDaniels said. “I can honestly say we live on the greatest nation on the face of the earth, so men and women, thank you so much.”
Mayor Robbie Skinner said Appalachia has always been home to many veterans.
“I want to hone in on one thing that Pastor [Ed] McDaniels said, [and that is], ‘do you know where that 1 percent largely comes from? Right here in Appalachia,’” Skinner said. “Appalachia has fought our wars and defended our country, so we are very proud of here and the people who have served our country. This part of America has defended our country years and will continue to do so, so all of those here who have fought, we thank you sincerely, from our hearts here in Buckhannon, West Virginia and beyond.”
Skinner said he has never served in the military, but Buckhannon is home to veterans of each branch of the military, and it’s important to honor them every year.
“There are folks here who aren’t veterans, like me — we have never put on a uniform, we have never had to leave our families, we don’t know what it’s like to go and fight in combat in 120-degree temperatures or below 30 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, we don’t know what that’s like – but there are men and women amongst us here who know what that’s like,” Skinner said. “On this day, we honor all who have given their all for our country, who have sacrificed so we can stand here today and continue to plan and make our community a better place and make our state a better place and our nation a better place.”
Commander of the American Legion Post 7 Mike Wallace acknowledged members of the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Military Club for performing the duties of the honor guard during the parade.
“We’re all getting too old to walk down the street, so thank goodness we had them,” Wallace said. “Like many other veterans here, I go to the VA for our medical services, and when we go there, even when we don’t feel good, it’s a great feeling to know that I will be surrounded by our fellow veterans.”
Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller, who represented Disabled American Veterans, said he took an oath when he joined the military, and he will live by that oath for the rest of his life.
“When we enlisted, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Marine, in the Air Force or wherever, we all took an oath and that oath said we would protect and defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Miller said. “To this day, I think every veteran here will agree with me that, to my knowledge, that has never been revoked, I still serve under that to this day.