Some years back when Kelcey and I were coordinating the Fourth of July parade, we always tried to include a brief ceremony honoring veterans.
We put together some nice moments but came to realize that there were some limitations. Parades by definition must keep moving so you can’t really stop and have a brief ceremony.
We got around this by having the ceremony in front of the courthouse fifteen or twenty minutes before the beginning of the parade.
The problem with this was the people who participated in the parade, many of them veterans, were unable to witness the ceremony.
Others in the community had made efforts to honor the veterans on Veterans Day but that falls on Nov. 11 and the weather is not always agreeable. I thought about this for a long time and about five or six years ago I figured it out.
I called John Toncray at the museum and Chip Southworth who was then the principal of Scott County High School.
After that, I called Danny Perkins who was the post commander at the American Legion.
We set up a small committee, met several times, and put on a ceremony at the high school which has continued for the last five or six years.
I have only been able to attend one time because after that my health turned south but by all accounts the program is still a first class tribute to the men and women of Scott County who have served in our armed forces.
Not long ago I got a call from a very good friend of mine who said he and a group of people were putting together some initiatives in the community, one of which was to be a ceremony honoring African- American veterans.
My response was that I will always help in any way I can but the truth is we already have a ceremony honoring all veterans and it will be held at Scott County High School on Nov. 11.
The children who attend Scott County High School need to see that veterans come in all colors and are female as well as male.
A lot of good people have worked for a lot of years to knock down barriers and to erase the residue of a discriminatory system that devalued the contributions of the African-American community to our society.
Things don’t change for the good or for the bad.
Things are made better or things are made worse and in the case of the integration of our armed forces good people have made our country’s military reflective of our nation. We should not dishonor that achievement.
I hope those of you who are able will attend this year’s veterans’ assembly at the high school.
I also hope the students in attendance will have the opportunity to see that all members of our community have served our nation through participation in the armed forces.
I’m not sure why some people want to cling to a de facto segregation but I will say this.
As there are no atheists in foxholes, my guess is there are also no segregationists, black or white.
Veterans, get yourself to the high school on Nov. 11 square your shoulders, put your head up and give our children the opportunity to show their appreciation to each and every one of you.
There’s plenty of parking and a whole lot of folks who want to shake your hand.
Trust me; they could give a fig what color it is.
Jerry Richardson is a Scott County resident.