By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
The Gainsville Veterans’ Day commemoration was held under a clear sky at Leonard Park Monday evening with Mayor Jim Goldsworthy recognizing special guests — veterans representing America’s wars. Seated on the dais from World War II were: 2nd Lt. United States Air Force Woodrow U. Clegg who was represented by his son, city council member Keith Clegg; PFC U.S. Army George Reichel; PFC United States Army Earl Brown.
Seated from the Korean War was James Bryant, PFC U.S. Marine Corps.
From the Vietnam War Master Gunnery Sergeant Ken Conover represented the U.S. Marines
Desert Storm veteran Diane May was a sergeant in the U.S. Army.
Goldsworthy spoke of two honored veterans that presently work for the city of Gainesville.
“Brandon Buttrum is a police officer for the city of Gainesville,” Goldsworthy said. “He completed his third year with the city and served in the U.S. Army from 1998-2005 which included two tours in Iraq.”
“Gainesville investigator Christoher Garner has served the citizens of Gainesville for the past four and a half years,” he continued. “Christopher served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant in Company B 1088 engineer battalion.
Goldsworthy spoke on the history of Veterans’ Day and how a natinal effort to honor U.S. veterans began during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson after the end of World War I.
The day commemorating the signing of the peace treaty or armistice was originally called Armistice Day.
Karen Estes, president of the Medal of Honor host city program, spoke of how the name was changed to Veterans’ Day.
“November 11 is the anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany. It was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 ”
Estes said that on Nov. 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time and that year President Wilson proclaimed the day should be "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory."
After the subsequent World War II and the Korean war, the veterans service organization urged Congress to change the word “Armistice” to “Veterans” and this change was made in 1954. Nov. 11 became a day to honor all American veterans who had ever served.
Regarding the medal of Honor (MOH) recipients that have come to Gainesville during MOH week Estes said, “It has been my privilege to work with the Medal of Honor society and to meet these heroes who have come to our city during medal of honor week.”
Cooke County Judge John Roane was the key note speaker and spoke of the many sacrifices made by residents of Cooke County who have served in the armed forces of the United States.
“My father was one of seven brothers who fought during World War II from Valley View,” he said. “ All but one of them came back home. One uncle who enlisted with my father was killed in action,” Roane said.
Patriotic renditions were performed by the Gainesville High School jazz band under the direction of Taylor Kami and the GHS choir directed by Rebecca Stubbs.
A brilliant display of fireworks capped off the evening followed by a complimentary barbeque dinner at the pavilion sponsored by the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the organization’s auxiliary.