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VFW honors veterans

Woodland Cemetery is the yearly backdrop for the VFW Post 8850’s Veterans Day Ceremony.

This year however, the honor guard held a small observance in front of the post.

“Nothing got planned for the cemetery today,” said Honor Guard Captain Bruce Dixon.

“But next year we will have it up there again.”

Dixon said it is harder to organize events on Sundays.

“The federal government designated the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month as Veterans Day.

No individual did that.

It’s supposed to be observed every year, all over the country.” Dixon said when Veteran’s Day falls on a Sunday, many posts make plans for ceremonies in the afternoon.

Despite the confusion of the location, several members of the community joined the post to commemorate this special day.

“A lot of people don’t think about the POWs and MIAs who are still lying over there, but we do,” Dixon said.

The guard led the pledge and a prayer, with a gunnery salute for the ceremony.

A turkey dinner followed, which was open to the community.

The graves of the fallen at Woodland Cemetery were not completely ignored on Veteran’s Day.

At 11 a.m., two local women stood amongst the stones.

“There are civil war graves here and on up through all the wars,” said Annette Chaplin of Coal Grove.

“The veterans are very near and dear to me.

When I looked around and saw no one standing here, I think we let them down because they gave their all for us.”

As the older Vets disappear, Chaplin said she believes fewer people are honoring them.

“They’re elderly and we’re losing them and we need for the younger ones to come up and pick up the torch,” she said. “We need someone to really plan these so people can come out and show their respect, because without our veterans we would have nothing.”

Barbara Yancy of Willow Wood was visibly shaken by the cemetery’s empty rows.

“I think our young people in general take everything for granted.

We simply have too much,” she said. “We haven’t had to fight for our freedoms in the last couple of generations.

They haven’t seen the devastation that war can do to a small town.”

Yancy wiped leaves away from markers that stood for men killed in Vietnam and Korea.

“I think they need to turn the tv off and have the kids spend an evening cleaning up this cemetery.

Then they’ll think about those that died.”

Chaplin and Yancy fought to control their emotions in the crisp and quiet morning.

“We have a wonderful world because of the men who are laying here,” Yancy said. “But we don’t hold our vets sacred anymore. We’ve lost that.”