The city of Auburn and the Auburn Veterans Committee held its own ceremony Monday, Nov. 12, at the Auburn Veterans Memorial Monument to pay their respects to the local veterans.
The event, led by Mayor Bill Ham, included performances from the Drake Middle School Choir, the Auburn University Choir and bagpiper Dan Drummond.
Although rain clouds hovered over the memorial Monday morning, the rain held off, and dozens gathered around the memorial to honor the men and women who served to protect America’s freedom.
Ham discussed the importance of recognizing the sacrifice of American veterans and thanking them for their service.
“It’s about being able to come forward and say thank you to our veterans for what they’ve done to preserve our freedoms,” Ham said.
After an invocation from Johnny Green, services coordinator for the Auburn University Student Veterans and Transfer Student Center, Ham spoke about the courage and sacrifice military members of past and present make to protect the United States.
Dubbing him a “local treasure,” Ham then introduced Rear Adm. Bill Goodwin, a U.S. Navy officer who retired in Auburn.
Goodwin emphasized the importance of honoring veterans throughout the world.
“My message today is remember and salute,” Goodwin said. “We remember all the veterans who have volunteered to serve our country. Veterans Day is the day we pause to remember and pay tribute to those who have worn the cloth of our nation.”
Also, Goodwin said it is important to pass on the tradition of honoring and saluting the country to future generations and to know the proper etiquette to salute the American flag.
“We need to teach our children and our children’s children what it means to be patriotic and respect our flag,” Goodwin said. “Remember to salute, and most importantly remember. And then when the occasion strikes, remember to salute.”
The ceremony honored those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. However, the veterans were not the only ones honored at the ceremony.
Goodwin also recognized the spouses and family members of veterans and current military members for their sacrifices and support.
“Spouses of military members are special,” Goodwin said. “They are the glue that holds the family together when veterans and active duty military are deployed.”
Although Veterans Day is just one day a year, Goodwin wanted people to remember to be thankful for veterans and servicemen and servicewomen all year long.
“Not just today, not just this month but throughout the year, thank a veteran for their service, and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Goodwin said.
Ham also discussed the importance of thanking and recognizing the veterans and military members, wherever they are.
“I hope that each of you will go out and thank a veteran,” Ham said. “Whether it be in an airport or a bus station or wherever you see a veteran, thank them for their service and thank them for you being free and having your freedom and having our families free today.”