~Veterans saluted in uplifting, moving ceremonies

A packed house rose during Carla May’s singing of “God Bless America”.
Tim Croft
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM.

The annual Veterans Day salute at Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School, a Gulf County tradition, was a bit different this year.

There remained the moving remembrance of the dead, a bell rung with each name of a Gulf County casualty. There was the presentation by the NJORTC drill team and songs honoring America and its freedoms from the high school guitar band.

But the annual event provided even more last Friday, as the Port St. Joe Elementary School children packed the upper reaches of the R. Marion Craig Coliseum and first- and sixth-graders added to the honorary music with “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “America the Beautiful.”

In addition, this year’s event provided a stage to pay special homage to the veterans of World War II, the “Greatest Generation” that fought a war on multiple fronts and saved a world from the continued rise of fascism.

As keynote speaker Kesley Colbert noted, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the response from young men and women across the country was profound.

“They didn’t wait for the call, they rushed (to recruiting offices) because the flag was attacked, our country was attacked,” Colbert said. “Two hundred million enlisted in that war. What a remarkable show of courage and strength.

“They had been lawyers, bankers, accountants and they got their training when the bullets started flying,”

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