Honoring all veterans

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 13, 2021

VFW Post 8850 holds ceremony at Woodland Cemetery

As always, on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th minute of the 11th hour, Lawrence Countians honored the men and women who served in America’s military.

Ironton VFW Post 8850 post commander Louie Sheridan began the ceremony promptly at 11 a.m. on Thursday morning by welcoming the 100 or so people who attended to honor those who were at Woodland Cemetery in Ironton for the traditional Veterans Day ceremony.

He reminded everyone that Veterans Day grew out of Armistice Day, which marked the day and time that World War I ended, Nov. 11, 1918 at 11:11 a.m. In 1954, the federal holiday was changed to Veterans Day to honor all of America’s military service people.

The invocation was given by Brother Chad Pemberton, who was a member of the U.S. Army National Guard. He said he had been thinking about the significance of the day.

“To have a day that honors all veterans from our country, it means a lot. It means so much that we are not forgotten, that our efforts were not in vain, especially those that were in combat and sacrificed so much of their life,” he said.

The VFW Honor Guard posted the colors and the National Anthem and a patriotic song were sung by Kyleigh Pauley, of Ironton.

The speaker at this years’ ceremony was Chris Perry, who was recently voted onto the Ironton City Council.

He started by thanking all the veterans for their service.

He said a recent injury that requires a brace and the use of crutches reminded him that injuries so many mostly unsung heroes faced were not just ones that could be seen, but “were wounds that men and women carried deep inside for a lifetime.”

He mentioned that the veteran he thought of most was 2nd Lt. John Millis of K Company out of Greenup, Kentucky.

“Paw Paw Millis was my mother’s grandfather,” Perry explained, adding that Millis was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in back-to-back months in World War I for extraordinary heroism.

“During my great-grandfather’s second act of heroism, he had his legs horribly injured by German sniper fire,” Perry said, adding the wounds were so severe that he never regained full use of his legs.

Millis died when Perry was just six months old, so he “never got to meet the man who by all accounts was one of the finest and most decent people ever born. I refer to him as the greatest man I never knew.”

Perry raised a cane that he was using to get around, the one that given to Millis by the American Red Cross in 1918.

“As I use this brace and cane, I will be reminded every day of the mortal, physical and emotional injuries that so many of you, America’s finest, has to offer and your families have had to suffer and endure,” Perry said. He offered a sincere thanks to the military personnel for the “blank check that you wrote to the United States of America as you recited your oath of service. Thank you.”

The event ended with VFW Post 8850 Honor Guard firing a gunnery salute and the playing of Taps.

VFW Post 8850 was formed in 1973 and its Honor Guard has put on the Veterans Day ceremony ever since.