Among the Veteran’s Day celebrations in Durant yesterday was the annual Veteran’s Day Parade followed by a ceremony on celebrating our veterans.
Highlights of this year’s parade included two veterans serving as Parade Marshals, J.(Jay) H. Thomas Jr., who served in WWII and Captain Justin Cassidy who served in Iraq, as well as students from Rock Creek Elementary marching with signs honoring veterans.
The ceremony following the parade took place on the Bryan County Courthouse front lawn. After state and local officials spoke and gave thanks to veterans, citizens lined up to shake hands and thank the veterans personally.
Students from Rock Creek Elementary school who were in the parade were the first to thank the veterans.
Vietnam veteran and VFW Post 3916 Chaplin Lynn Skocdopole said that Bryan County has a large veteran community of approximately 3,600.
He said that Veteran’s Day means a lot to these men and women.
“It’s very meaningful to know they’re appreciated for their efforts,” said Skocdopole.
Skocdopole recalled that during the time of the Vietnam War, soldiers were met with negativity upon return and is he thankful to everybody who shows appreciation to these veterans now.
Parade Marshal Jay Thomas Jr. said he is glad that he served and grateful to be alive now. Thomas was drafted into the military shortly after he married.
“We thought we would have at least a year,” said Thomas as he recalled that the draft age changed from 21 to 18 just after he was married at age 19.
He said that he is proud to be a veteran and glad to see those children giving thanks to veterans.
“It makes your heart throb,” said Thomas, as he described the children in the parade and those lining the streets to say “thank you” at the parade.
Several other veterans arrived to greet citizens during the ceremony as well. All receiving thanks from citizens from all across Bryan County.