Athens Community Honors Veterans

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The community lined Court Street to honor our veterans Wednesday morning at the annual parade sponsored by the American Legion.

The veterans handed out candy to the kids and waved to the crowd. The Athens High School band also marched down the street.

Veteran’s Day comes once a year, but people like Vietnam War veteran Tom Smith, reflect on their time serving our country everyday.

“The navy did a lot of things for me that most people wouldn’t get. I was lucky to get into the service,” Smith said.

Nancy Brown has helped organize the Veteran’s Day parade for over a decade. She is the president of the American Legion Auxiliary and originally got involved with the Legion to honor her dad, who was a WWII veteran. Brown believes that even if you did not serve in the military, the impact of a veteran can still hit home.

“It’s one day that I can set aside and honor my dad and all the other veterans,” Brown said. “But it’s not the only day. You know Veteran’s Day is wonderful and we should honor our veterans, however we should honor our veterans everyday of our life.”

For Jorma Hake, the president of Student Veterans of America, honoring veterans can be as simple as enjoying the day.

“We did our time in so people could have a good life here,” Hake said.

During Veteran’s Day and the rest of the year, Dave Edwards, senior director of Veterans and Military Student Services Center, hopes students educate themselves on the realities of war.

“If students don’t understand the importance of what the military does for the country, then they’re less likely to partake in events that celebrate that,” Edwards said.

Honoring a veteran does not have to be a big gesture, it can be as simple as a “thank you.”

“If you see a veteran, thank them, shake their hand, maybe buy them a beer,” said Hake.

“Make sure you tell those veterans thank you for what you did. Oh, I’m getting all teary eyed. It is just a fantastic thing,” said Brown.