SOUTH SHORE —
A Veterans Day celebration in South Shore on Saturday will feature a parade, followed by a ceremony honoring Purple Heart veterans.
The events, sponsored by the Women’s Auxiliary of American Legion Post 276, will highlight the city’s status as a Purple Heart City, and are expected to become an annual tradition in the town.
The parade will begin at noon and will wind its way along the normal South Shore parade route from First Avenue to Main Street, turning onto Fourth Street, then Cecil Robbins to James Hannah and ending on Clark Street. Additional entries for the parade are welcome, and lineup will begin at 10:30 a.m.
A 1 p.m. ceremony honoring Purple Heart recipients will be at the Legion post, where a monument honoring the city’s status will be dedicated. The ceremony will include a presentation of colors and a 21-gun salute by legion members. Boy Scout Troop 98 and Cub Scout Pack 97 will also honor veterans. Michael Bell of Veterans Helping Veterans will speak and Rhonda Vansickle will sing.
Auxiliary members Crystal Hays and Pam Mullins are coordinating Saturday’s activities, which they hope will become an annual affair hosted by the group.
“We’re just here because we need to honor our veterans, especially on Veterans Day,” Hays said. “We’re just honored to be a part of this organization and we just want to celebrate them.”
Hays’ father, the late Jimmy Hamilton, was injured in Vietnam and received the Purple Heart. Growing up, she said, the American flag was flown every day in her front yard and it always had a spotlight on it.
“It was something to be honored, and I think everyone should honor our flag and our veterans,” Hays said.
Her brother, David Hamilton, is a Gulf War veteran who was serving in Saudi Arabia when she graduated high school, and her father-in-law is a Vietnam-era veteran. She also has two brother-in-laws who are career military members, one in the Navy and another in the Marines.
“I just think everyone needs to show honor and respect for our veterans,” she said. “I just think as Americans it is second nature to voting.”
Mullins, who has been a member of the auxiliary since she was a child and is first vice president of American Legion Women’s Auxiliary District 9, was the driving force behind the new event, according to Hays. Mullins’ father, the late Harris Thomas “Mick” Mullins, was a World War II veteran who served in the Air Force. Mullins’ mother, Opal, and her aunt were also dedicated auxiliary members.
“When I was little, I can remember going to veterans homes and doing stuff with them,” Mullins said. “I feel like that inspired me to do more as an adult. It takes a very special person to be in the miliary and go and fight and do what they have to do. For me, it is an honor to give back to them.
“As much support as we can give our veterans and our military is crucial to me. I don’t think we can give enough back to them. They have made a greater sacrifice than any of us would understand. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have our freedom. We would not have a lot of what we have if it wasn’t for them going over there and fighting.”
For more information on the parade and Purple Heart ceremony, contact Crystal Hays at (740) 464-4708
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2653.