Veterans honored in Louisville

Jefferson County High School ROTC flag team marches down the center aisle in Louisville Baptist Church during a Veterans Day service held there Nov. 11.
Jefferson County High School ROTC flag team marches down the center aisle in Louisville Baptist Church during a Veterans Day service held there Nov. 11.

Jefferson County’s Rotary and Kiwanis clubs celebrated area veterans Friday, Nov. 11, in a special service in Louisville.

Because of rain, the service was moved from the courthouse lawn to First Baptist Church.

Associate Pastor John Russell opened the service with a brief history on the holiday that is today celebrated as Veterans Day.

In 1926 Congress passed a resolution recognizing Nov. 11 as Armistice Day honoring the end of World War I.

“This resolution called on our country to celebrate this day in schools and churches and other suitable places with appropriate ceremonies,” Russell said. “So that’s what we’ve gathered here today to do, to honor those who have served the United States of America in the armed forces.”

Participating in the event were students from Jefferson County High School, the Naval Jr ROTC, the JCHS chorus, Thomas Jefferson Academy students reading poetry and members of that school’s literary group singers who performed an ensemble.

Louisville Mayor Jenny Smith, a Navy veteran, talks to those gathered about her time in service during Veterans Day service last week.
Louisville Mayor Jenny Smith, a Navy veteran, talks to those gathered about her time in service during Veterans Day service last week.

Louisville Mayor Jenny Smith, a veteran who served from 1976 to 1996 in Navy, primarily as a supply officer in the Mediterranean and California, was the keynote speaker for the event.

She talked about the importance of team work on a ship, how important and rewarding it is.

A veteran stands for recognition during the service in Louisville.
A veteran stands for recognition during the service in Louisville.

“Serving in the Navy was a great honor, one I still feel whenever I hear Anchors Away,” she said.

Smith said that in addition to the men and women who serve the country in the armed forces, she also wanted to recognize their families.

“Sometimes serving, especially when you are far away from home, especially at Christmas can be very lonely. I remember Christmas 1980 in Italy where I was stationed at the time,” she said. “I couldn’t have Christmas dinner with my family and so mom set a place for me and put a cassette recorder on my place. She recorded the family chatter and mailed me the tape. It was one of the best Christmas presents I ever received.”

Veterans are recognized by branch of service during the service in Louisville.
Veterans are recognized by branch of service during the service in Louisville.

Standing in the pulpit, looking out at the young men and women of the Naval ROTC on the front pews and the veterans and community sitting behind them, she thanked those serving and those who might one day serve.

"Military strength is the only thing that an autocrat like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will understand,” Smith said. “Maintaining that military is not cheap. Those planes and ships cost millions. And all the hardware must be operated by dedicated, intelligent men and women. I am grateful to all of those who serve now and in the past and in the future. Thank you for your service.”

The Jefferson County High School choir performs during the Veterans Day ceremony.
The Jefferson County High School choir performs during the Veterans Day ceremony.

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Veterans honored in Louisville