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Tribute paid to veterans for their sacrifices

Thomasville Times-Enterprise - 11/14/2021

Nov. 12—THOMASVILLE — On the 103rd anniversary of the end of the war to end all wars, veteran Don Sims read aloud the poem "In Flanders Field."

The poem, penned by a Canadian Army physician on the immense loss of life in World War I's Second Battle of Ypres.

The author, John McCrae, was struck by the wild poppies that sprang up between the makeshift graves of the soldiers who had been killed in battle often just the day before.

"The poppies were brought to western Europe by the Romans and the poppy seeds can lie dormant 80 years or more," said Sims, speaking at Thomas County's annual Veterans Day observance at the Historic Thomas County Courthouse. "The ground was torn all up by trenches, by guns, by bombs and the poppies were profuse at that time.

"The poppy is the emblem of remembrance; the soldier is the emblem of sacrifice. But sacrifice has no meaning without remembrance. We honor America through the poppy. The red seed stands for the blood that has been shed, and we remember that. We ask that today that we do remember the sacrifice of all service members."

Gregory Thweatt, commander of VFW Post 4995, noted that Veterans Day originally was Armistice Day, created to commemorate the end of World War I, the war to end all wars.

"In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared the day should be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory," Thweatt said.

Congress made Armistice Day an official holiday in 1938.

"This day was initially intended to honor veterans of World War I," Thweatt said. "A few years later, World War II required the most significant mobilization of service members in the history of the United States."

Less than a year after the Korean Armistice was signed, veterans service organizations asked Congress to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day." "On June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to pay tribute to all American veterans whenever and wherever they have served," Thweatt said.

Thomas County Commission Chairman Phillip Brown also paid tribute to the families of service members, who often travel to far off places with them or wait at home for long periods for their return.

"We know that your families served along with you," Brown said.


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