â€œTheyâ€™ve liberated slaves â€¦ and toppled terrorist organizations,â€ Sheriff David Carpenter said of our nationâ€™s more than one billion war vets, 23 million of whom are still living.
Carpenter was just one of many speakers at Thursdayâ€™s Veterans Day celebration at Brian Center Health & Retirement in Lincolnton.
The event was sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care of Gastonia, who provides nonmedical assistance in a variety of ways to area seniors and their families.
Roy Goforth, who heads Home Instead Senior Care with his wife Dona, opened up Thursdayâ€™s veteransâ€™ celebration by noting the millions of soldier casualties from every American-involved war from this century and past including both World Wars and conflicts in Korea, Vietnam and various locations across the Middle East.
â€œIf it wasnâ€™t for them, we wouldnâ€™t have the freedoms we enjoy,â€ he said.
Sheriff Carpenter also extended his praiseworthy remarks to war veterans everywhere.
â€œWe honor more than one million American men and women,â€ he said. â€œTheyâ€™ve endured separations from familyâ€¦missed birthsâ€¦Your pride swells to know that you have fought for America.â€
He also commended soldiersâ€™ spouses and children for the bravery they must assume when left behind on the home front.
â€œGod bless America and the veterans,â€ Carpenter added. â€œWeâ€™re here because of them.â€
Students from West Lincoln High School ROTC were also on-hand to present the flag while Brian Center officials recognized numerous past and present veterans who have come through their facility. Patients have spanned all military branches as well as military police. One former patient even served as General George S. Pattonâ€™s personal chauffeur.
In addition, widows of veterans received American flags for their husbandsâ€™ dedication and duty to their country; two current staff members were also recognized for their military service, including night nurse Wesley Dickerson.
A veteran of the Iraqi conflict, Dickerson offered the audience insight into his military career, explaining the camaraderie and unique bond he now shares with soldiers of all branches.
â€œYou fill so many sand bags and eat dirt with these people,â€ he said.
Dickerson also compared his military bond to the friendships he now maintains with co-workers and Brian Center patients.
â€œYou know in both places youâ€™re making a difference in the world,â€ he said.
He noted that war is the same for all military personnel, and despite the difference in time frame and age, similar war stories and experiences can be shared among him and the Lincoln County veterans who were on-hand Thursday from the countyâ€™s local branch of Disabled American Veteransâ€™ (DAR).
â€œI gained this bond with people I didnâ€™t even know,â€ Dickerson said.
He closed with the following statement, â€œItâ€™s very humbling to stand up here,â€ noting how when he thinks of war veterans, he doesnâ€™t include himself but calls to mind the ones who fought alongside him.
â€œItâ€™s not about me,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s about the men and women I served withâ€”the people to your left and right.â€
Following his speech, a DAR member played â€œTapsâ€ on the trumpet with everyone in attendance either saluting or covering their heart with a hand.
The Lincoln County DAR chapter has been in existence since 1975 and is currently headed by former U.S. Army Commander Charles Adams.
One DAR soldier in particular was honored for the veteransâ€™ recognition at the Brian Center, something that he noted was taken from he and fellow soldiers upon returning home from the Vietnam War.
Perhaps, Goforth best summed up Americaâ€™s need to honor its war veterans by telling local vets Thursday â€œItâ€™s long overdue for us to recognize you.â€