Ceremony sets tone for solemn remembrance
WATCHING THE PARADE – Michael Koch, 3, waves to veterans in the Veterans Day parade on Monday while his cousin, Madison Dees, 2, watches from her stroller. Michael's father, Bill, is in the Air National Guard and rode in the parade with Michael's sister, Jordan, 10. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Nov. 12, 2002
Veterans were pleased with the turnout for the Veterans Day ceremony and parade Monday in Meridian.
Both Ken Storms, the city of Meridian's chief administrative officer, and James Slayton, past state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said it appeared to be the largest crowd the ceremony has drawn at the Doughboy Monument.
Unlike many federal holidays that are observed on Mondays, Veterans Day is observed Nov. 11 each year to commemorate the signing of the armistice that ended World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
Monday's late morning program included a laying of wreaths at the Doughboy Monument in honor of all veterans. The day's festivities ended with a late afternoon parade through downtown Meridian.
Special guest speakers during the ceremony included Col. Jim White of the Air National Guard and former U.S. Rep. G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery.
White recognized what he called, "a new kind of veteran," in the United States that emerged after terrorist attacks last year.
Although he cited a separation of military and civil law enforcement as necessary, he also questioned whether the United States should rethink the separation of agencies in certain areas.
White, a resident of Garlandville, watched the afternoon parade from Dumont Plaza. He said the support of the public is a reflection of the concern citizens have for the nation.
Montgomery told the crowd at the Doughboy Monument that Veterans Day is one of his favorite holidays.
Looking over the crowd and facing the monument, Montgomery said he always tries to return to Meridian to celebrate Veterans Day.
He said many improvements have been made during the past 20 years regarding veterans' benefits and health care, but he urged veterans and veteran organizations to continue to call on their legislators and congressmen about veterans issues.