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Organizers pleased by countywide Veterans Day event

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Military Memorial Museum board Jack Rutland (from left) thanks Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for serving as the keynote speaker for the countywide Veterans Day program at the Lincoln Civic Center.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Military Memorial Museum board Jack Rutland (from left) thanks Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for serving as the keynote speaker for the countywide Veterans Day program at the Lincoln Civic Center.

In honor of local veterans and the Lincoln County Military Museum’s 10th year anniversary, the board of the local Military Museum, volunteers and local officials were happy to see a Veterans Day to remember at the Lincoln Civic Center Monday night.

“This turned out to be so much bigger than we originally believed it would be. This is an excellent way to honor service members from our community,” state Sen. Sally Doty remarked at Monday night’s event.

Close to 400 veterans attended the ceremony in their honor, and spent the night as comrades in arms again, discussing the large things for which the day is remembered, as well as the smaller things that neighbors might discuss on a normal afternoon.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Veterans Ronald Nott and Edler Thompson share remembrances of their shared service Monday night at the Lincoln Civic Center Veterans Day program.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Veterans Ronald Nott and Edler Thompson share remembrances of their shared service Monday night at the Lincoln Civic Center Veterans Day program.

State and city officials were among the crowd, yet many of them stayed in the background intentionally, as the veterans were the key focus of the night, and they took center stage.

“This isn’t about us tonight, it’s about them,” Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said as he pointed to veterans seated in the center room of the civic center.

As the ages of the veterans spanned generations, so did the wars they fought in, or continue to fight in. Both men and women, and all races and ethnicities were at the ceremony Monday night.

Despite the differences, guest speaker Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, noticed the similarities.

“We are here to listen to your wisdom and to apply it to our lives today. In a word, teamwork matters on the battlefield. It doesn’t matter if you are from Mississippi or Alabama, if you are black or white, or even if you are a Republican or a Democrat. I look to you as a model for how I should represent the state of Mississippi,” Reeves said.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Jimmy Perkins was one of the scores of local veterans  honored Monday night at the civic center.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Jimmy Perkins was one of the scores of local veterans honored Monday night at the civic center.

The Mississippi School of the Arts choir participated in the Veterans Day event, and gave a rendition of “America the Beautiful” that led to a standing ovation.

The military board, along with local volunteers, did all of the prep work at the event, including the display of military vehicles like an M20 tank. On two projector screens, the audience saw pictures of Lincoln County residents that have served in the armed forces, some alive, others not.

Throughout the civic center, board members displayed historical war artifacts and the personal effects of Lincoln County veterans that have been donated to the board over the years.

Addressing the veterans, Reeves said, “Many times people I meet will tell me they are proud of my service to the state of Mississippi. Yet, when I’m in front of a crowd like this, I’m reminded that real service is what you have done, for our towns, cities, state and for our nation. You epitomize a service heart.”

“For that we are very proud,” Tate continued.

Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith was the master of ceremony at the event and introduced all quest speakers.

The Rev. Jerry Durr delivered the invocation by reciting Psalm 23.

Mayor Joe Cox, Bishop, Aldermen David Phillips, Fletcher Grice and Shirley Estes were on hand, as was Kay Burton, marketing director of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.

Organizers were pleased by the turnout for the event. “No one knew the turnout would be this huge. What’s great about this – from the perspective of the civic center – is that it’s for a great cause, said civic center manager Quinn Jordan.

“Perhaps one of the best things that we can do at the civic center is to hold an event like this.”