Area veterans speak as their holiday nears

Published 11:42 pm Monday, November 10, 2003

By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
Tuesday is Veterans Day. Those who are off work or out of school may or may not have realized the significance of that day, but we should never forget the reason it is celebrated each year on that date. That's because it was on the eleventh month, the eleventh day of the month and the eleventh hour of the day that the armistice was signed ending World War I in 1918.
Most holidays have been arranged to be celebrated on Monday, as it makes for a three-day weekend. Veterans Day is different in that it is always honored on Nov. 11.
W.S. Neal Middle School honored veterans a few days early as they will be out of school on Tuesday. Three veterans and a member of the American Legion Auxiliary came to the classroom to educate students on the importance of observing the holiday and veterans.
Dale Owens is a veteran of the war in Vietnam. He talked to the students about the origin of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C. Most of the students knew nothing about how this symbol of fallen heroes came to be. He also told them about the honor of being able to serve his country.
Virginia Owens is the wife of Dale Owens. She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and she told the students about the auxiliaries role with the Legion. They support the men and help to raise money to be used by the Legionnaires. She asked each student to take the time to visit with any veterans they might know and to thank them for what they have done.
Don Ellis served in the military for 24 years during the Korean War and during the "Cold War," when the world seemed to be always on the brink of destruction. He left school at the age of 17 to volunteer for the military. He discussed the different things that veterans with the American Legion are involved in.
John Wilson is a veteran of the war in Vietnam. He told the students about the trip that a group of citizens of Belgium made to Brewton a few years ago. The trip was made to honor Bill Carroll, who was one of the first allied liberators into their village during World War II. The visit to Brewton was in thanks for all the American soldiers who came to their rescue so many years ago.
Mr. Wilson also told the students about the United States Flag and what each part and color represents.
Students at W.S. Neal Middle School will remember their visit from these veterans for a long while.
As Dale Owens said, "I would encourage each one of you to take a moment next Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. and remember all the veterans."