Powhatan County marked Veterans Day with words and music meant to honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Several celebrations were held on or around Tuesday, Nov. 11 to show the community’s appreciation for the sacrifices veterans have made. People young and old gathered in the different events to say thank you in their own ways.
The commemoration started early with A Veterans Day Musical held on Sunday, Nov. 9 at Powhatan High School. Ruth Boatwright, coordinator, brought together a wide variety of entertainment such as Gene Hatcher performing "Lead Me"; Reginald Batterson reciting "A Vet’s Night Out"; Cindy and Michael Goodwyn performing "Jackson" as Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn; Ron White singing "In God We Still Trust" and Rollie Card singing "My Wild Irish Rose."
Then there were the harder moments, such as Russell Scott, a World War II Veteran and POW, speaking to a completely silent audience as he recounted joining up for the war, being shot down and becoming a POW in a German POW Camp until the time he came home.
Photos of those who served were posted all over the stage and down in front in recognition of their service.
The events on Veterans Day started at Powhatan High School with a program put on by the Junior ROTC Indian Battalion and performed for a packed audience of students, teachers, administrators, parents and guests.
After the posting of colors by the JROTC color guard, the high school’s chamber ensemble sang the national anthem.
The guest speaker was assistant principal Kimberly Holloway, who is also a chief master sergeant with the Virginia Air National Guard. Her talk focused on many of the skills embraced by the JROTC cadets, including respect, personal courage, duty, integrity and selfless service.
"The military is one team and each of us has something to contribute," she said.
The event was also marked with a moving Arlington Silhouette Performance by the cadets and a video presentation.
American Legion Post 201 sponsored the Veterans Day program at the War Memorial Building.
After post commander Creed Taylor offered a welcome and Bishop Dennis Campbell prayed, past commander Billy Kornegay spoke on "America – A Christian Nation."
Kornegay spoke about some of the history related to the settling of the country and its Christian roots, a history Taylor said "is good to remember sometimes."
A recording of Taps was played as the group remembered post members who have passed on – Julian Boyer, Elwood Fultz, William E. Maxey, Angelo "Chubby" Meluso, Joseph Poore and Leonard Vimpeny.
Henry Powers of Powhatan said he appreciated being recognized for his service in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, which is not something he experienced when he returned from war.
"I like to be recognized and I like to shake hands with the other veterans and meet them," said Powers, who served from 1965 to 1967.
The final Veterans Day program of the day was held at Powhatan Elementary School, where about 90 fourth-graders offered a full program of music and poetry. This was the seventh year music director Candi Sheppard has put on the program with the students.
The students sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and offered its history and some of the history of the flag since the song is celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2014, Sheppard said. They also sang "You’re a Grand Old Flag," compete with waving small American flags.
Caroline Scott, a student at the high school, performed Taps.
Sheppard said putting on the Veterans Day program is her favorite show of the year and is as much about teaching patriotism and thanking veterans as the actual performance.
"The primary goal of the show is to make sure any veterans in Powhatan, if they can come, have a special moment where they are thanked, recognized and appreciated," she said. "My goal for the students would be that they not only learn about what the military does for our country but also to go home and learn about the military history of their own families."
Master Sgt. Chuck Horton, third grade teacher Shari Horton’s husband, was the special guest speaker for the event. He retires this year after 32 years in the military, first in the U.S. Army and then the Virginia Army National Guard.
After talking a little bit about why he joined the military, Horton took questions from the students. At one point he had the students turn around and look where adults were sitting in the back of the room, asking the veterans in the group to raise their hands.
His goal, he said, was to make the children more aware of the people who have served the nation who might be walking by them every day without them being aware of it.
"I think it is great just to recognize veterans and let kids know there is something out there besides electronics," said Horton of Powhatan.