Hundreds join in honoring area veterans despite the falling rainPublished 8:19pm Monday, November 12, 2012
Local veterans, their families, city and county officials and guests battled a persistent rain Monday in commemorating Veterans Day at Selma’s Memorial Stadium.
The event, which was organized by the American Legion, drew hundreds who dodged raindrops as the event was moved inside the stadium, under the large awning.
After an opening prayer, posting of the colors given by the Southside High School JROTC, and the national anthem, Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard introduced guest speaker Wayne Stacey.
Stacey, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, delivered a speech emphasizing the importance of Veteran’s Day and why we, as a nation, should observe the honorable service veterans humbly give.
“They are our family, our neighbors, our friends — they are everywhere,” Stacey said of veterans. “We need to remember that our country is only as good as the people in that country. And a land that can produce such heroes as the United States of America is a land worth fighting for and a land worth saving.”
Stacey, an Atmore native who now lives in Gulf Shores, served in the Vietnam War and continues to serve the United States through his several leadership roles, including the American Legion Post 44.
“Wayne has a very impressive military and personal record,” Ballard said of Stacey in his introduction. “His assignments have included Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Worth, Texas, Fort Bragg, N.C. and many others.”
His wife, Donna, also served during the Gulf War era and is now a retired major.
After the speech, local organizations honored veterans through the placement of the wreaths. The American Legion post 234, the Emblem Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars post 3016 and the Pilot Club were among some of these organizations.
In the crowd were veterans from several wars, including a few from World War II. Staff Sgt. Delores Taylor, the first woman to represent the VFW 2016 post, was also in attendance.
Bill Campbell, commander for district 31 of Alabama, said he couldn’t have been more pleased with the ceremony.
“I thought he did such a good job of presenting the program,” Campbell said of Stacey’s speech. “I had a few veterans tell me that they really loved what we did today, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Campbell began serving in 1959 and said he hasn’t stopped since.
“We serve until we die,” he said. “That’s part of being a veteran.”