American poet and writer Eve Merriman once penned something that must echo fervently not only in the hearts of parents everywhere but also in the fragile souls of veterans: “I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, 'Mother, what is war?'”
Because that far-off dream has not yet materialized, Monday's program at Covington Commons Assisted Living & Garden Homes paid its annual tribute to the senior community's war veterans with gratitude, prayer and song, said Ann Marie Sordelet, activity director.
“We invited the Honor Guard from American Legion Post No. 499 to present their inspirational program for our resident veterans,” said Sordelet, who has hosted the annual programs for the past seven years.
The Honor Guard representatives consisted of Steve Kumfer, Post No. 499 commander; Dick Hornsby, executive board member; and Sandie Hornsby, chaplain of the auxiliary, along with two fully uniformed Army soldiers and Charlie Cockran, the administrator of the Honor Guard.
“Our event honors all resident war veterans – both American and foreign – with song, prayer, a POW / MIA flag-folding observance, and handing out certificates of appreciation. In addition, an 'Everlasting' prayer is said for the past year's deceased resident veterans. This year, that included nine of our dear friends,” said Sordelet, who first began the Veterans Day program out of respect for those who put their lives on the line for the country's continued freedom.
Many people are not aware that it wasn't just men who served; in addition to women from auxiliaries who volunteered their service there were also women in the front lines in more recent wars. The Covington Commons event included six women WWII veterans. Even Maya Angelou, American writer and poet, appropriately noted the tremendous female war contribution, saying, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”
Post No. 499 has been involved with the Veterans Day ceremony at Covington Commons for several years.
“Recently, this great bunch invited our veterans over for a delicious luncheon at the Post, and I cannot say enough about these special people,” said Sordelet. “I would recommend any veterans coming back from war today to head to this Post because the people there are so caring and attentive to our resident veterans.”
The program began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the singing of “America the Beautiful,” and the prayer for Veterans Day and POW / MIA, “while explaining the meaning of the lighted candles, which represented each veteran who has died in the past year. Then the flag-folding ceremony detailed the symbolism of each fold, and the Flag Detail respectfully presented the flag to the commander for proper placement.
“The chaplain recited the Everlasting Prayer, including the names of deceased veteran residents while the commander snuffed out a candle as each name was read,” Sordelet said.
The program ended, as did thousands other simultaneous ceremonies across the nation, with a poignant, bugled rendition of taps in tribute to those who fought to keep the American Dream alive.