Nov. 14—THOMASVILLE- The Kiwanis Club of Thomasville celebrated and honored veterans at a recent program. The theme of the program was "Thank you Veterans for my Freedom." Robert H. Parrish organized the program as he has done for many, many years. The dining room at Vashti was filled with a large crowd to recognize veterans. The invocation/blessing was given by member, James Hardy, former 1st Lt., US Army, 1969-1971, followed by the Presentation of the American Flag by C/CSM Nic Whigham, Thomas County Central High School, Army JROTC, and the Pledge to the Flag. The assembly then sang "America, the Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner," accompanied by long-time Kiwanis pianist Parrish.
Veterans were then asked to stand, give their service branches, years of service and places served. A Musical Salute to the Armed Forces, sung by the group and accompanied by Parrish on the piano, gave a rousing salute to the honorees, beginning with the Army song, "Caissons Go Rolling Along," with interlude and into the Navy song, "Anchors Away," then the Coast Guard, "Semper Paratus," the Air Force, "The U. S. Air Force," and the Marines, "Marine Corps Hymn." The veterans stood for their service song and at the conclusion of the songs, the AJROTC Cadets presented each veteran with an American Flag lapel pin and a card entitled "The Veteran," giving veterans the thanks for all our freedoms. The cadets in attendance were C/SFC Dawson Faulk, C/2Lt Julia Hutchings, C/1LT Zach Howard, and aforementioned C/CSM Nic Whigham, and Senior Army Instructor LTC (R) Kevin Ingram.
The very special speaker for the program was introduced by Kiwanis member Susan Haberkorn, Capt. (R) US Navy, 1965-1991, Dr. Larry R. Green, former Capt., US Army, Combat and Reconnaissance Pilot, Republic of Vietnam, 1968-1972. Green graduated from Florida State University where he attended on an athletic scholarship, then Georgia Southern University, Valdosta State University, and received his Ed. D. degree from University of Sarasota.
Green was Athletic Director and Head Coach, Thomas County Central High School, Superintendent of Thomas County Schools and Interim Superintendent, Miller County Schools, Colquitt, Georgia. His military service included Engineer Officer training, Army Flight School, Flight Instructor for both pilots and flight instructors, and combat pilot/ recon pilot. His medals earned included Army Commendation, Vietnamese Cross of Military Gallantry, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 13 Clusters, and Air Medal for Valor.
Green wore his Army dress blue uniform and was very stylish in his uniform from 1972. He was accompanied by his wife, Karen, who helped with the projector and photos. He showed pictures on a large screen of barracks, planes he flew, army comrades, and shots of the country-side in Vietnam. All of the members of Kiwanis and guests were very interested and enthralled as Green narrated the photos and gave his stories from his experiences in a war zone, especially flying small recon aircraft.
At the conclusion of Green's talk, Parrish asked the assembly to please stand reverently and prayerfully while he played on the piano, "Let There Be Peace on Earth," followed by the singing of "God Bless America," written by Irving Berlin, 1918, and re-written for Armistice Day, November 11, 1938, for Kate Smith, as war clouds gathered Europe as a prelude to World War II.