Heroes of Putnam County were honored on Wednesday, Nov. 11, during a Veterans Day ceremony hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6686 and American Legion Post 583 at the Veterans Wall of Honor Park in downtown Eatonton.
Although the rain kept the event from being held within the actual Wall of Honor Park like most years, the veterans and their families and friends shifted to the covered pavilion nearby to hear several speakers and patriotic music to celebrate their service to our country.
After an inspiring invocation by Gene Roberts, Putnam County High School’s JROTC began its presentation of the colors and presented the American flag during a beautiful rendition of the national anthem by Loretta Hampton.
Next, Colonel Patricia Ross, COO of the Veterans Education Career Transition Resource (VECTR) Center in Warner Robins, spoke to the audience about the legacies of military members and veteran support resources in education, employment and entrepreneurship that are provided by the VECTR Center.
“I can’t tell you how much this means to me to be in front of such an esteemed group of military veterans and their families,” she announced. “I know you all are just like me. Military families and veterans are more apt to volunteer than any other demographic. You’re in your churches. You’re in your government. You all are still serving just like I am still serving. We just can’t get that out of our DNA. So, what I want to do this Veterans Day is not only thank you for your service, but to thank you for still serving.”
Next, an organizer of the event and Army veteran, Bob Landau, addressed the attendees and described the progression of the park and announced the dedication of Phase III of the park, the new Veterans Memorial Garden. He said the garden has 12 steel park benches, a waterfall, several pathways and new plants.
“You are all especially invited to come to this park in the quiet of the evening, after the sun goes down and the moon has risen. As you sit on the benches here in the pavilion or in the memorial garden with the ambient light flowing throughout and the flood lights illuminating the head wall and the American flag, I believe you will find it both heartwarming and inspiring,” he explained. “This is your park, and for many of you, these are your kinfolk whose names appear on the walls.”
After the event concluded with a benediction from Commander Dick Dickens, VFW member Nikki Barker told The Eatonton Messenger that she was surprised at the number of attendees at the event despite the inclement weather.
“It went really good even with the rain,” she began. “A lot of people came at the last minute. We’ve had events with more people, but this went really good despite the weather.”
She described Bob Landau as the driving force that made the event a success and also went on to say the park is an ongoing project and invited people to visit the VFW 6686 Facebook page to donate to the Veteran Park’s GoFundMe link or people can send a check to the address provided.