Dallas County remembers…, some gave all

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 12, 2004

The gloomy skies above Memorial Stadium on Thursday did not stop over 100 Selma residents-many of them military veterans-from attending a special salute to this country’s past and present soldiers.

Hosted by the American Legion Post 20, the annual Veterans Day ceremony was a way for citizens to pay their respects to those who gave their lives, and are currently fighting for, their country.

Legionnaire Gene Hisel headed the ceremony by introducing the special guests and reading a proclamation from President George W. Bush.

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“Everyone should be proud to be a part of this proclamation, and proud to serve our country in the military,” Hisel said.

The guest speaker at the event as retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Willis Hansen, who currently serves as Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Marion Military Institute.

The highly decorated Hansen spoke of how, as a young boy, he was inspired at seeing the veterans of World War I and the “veterans my father’s age, part of the greatest generation.”

Hansen also gave a brief history of past wars and thanked the veterans who made America what it is today.

“Today a new enemy faces us-the planners of Sept. 11,” he said. “Americans are now engaged with this enemy. For the first time, the Afghan people had the right to what we have long had. They voted for a new leader.”

Hansen then addressed the high school students who attended the ceremony, asking them to consider facing the challenges offered to them through the military.

“For over 200 hundred years America has been blessed with men and women who have gave much and sacrificed a lot for their country,” he said. “Prepare yourselves mentally and physically to do the same. Do not fret from the challenge.”

Following Hansen’s speech, members of the American Legion Post 20, along with the Emblem Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3016, and the Meadowview Christian School Student Government

Association, placed wreaths and flowers in front of the World War I and II memorial outside the stadium.

This was followed by a solemn rendition of “Taps” performed by American Legion Post 20 member Jessie Sanchez.

“It is our obligation to remember those who wore the uniform of freedom who gave their lives for us,” Hisel said.

Another American Legion member, Bill Campbell, said he thought the speech given by Hansen was “wonderful.”

“It was very true,” Campbell said. “(Young people today) are going to be our future leaders and defenders of our country. We have to look after them, guide them, and bring them up Christian.”

After the ceremony, the Rotary Club provided everyone with hotdogs, drinks and an array of snacks as part of a special Veterans Day treat.