Smith-Cotton JROTC Honors Area Veterans
Area Veterans were honored with breakfast and a special, somber ceremony Friday morning at Smith-Cotton High School.
The event, hosted by the S-C JROTC, featured Major William S. Ratcliffe, US Army (Ret), who spoke about Armistice Day, which was what Veteran's Day was originally called.
“It was 50 years ago that I put on the uniform … one of the happiest and proudest days of my life. It was a sad day when I took it off, but it was a happy day for me when my sons put the uniform on. I've had two sons that served. One is a retired lieutenant colonel in Special Forces and the other is an Army aviator. Between the two of them, they spent 12 years (in the Service),” Ratcliffe said.
“War is an awful thing. No good comes of it sometimes. And no one loves peace more than the Veteran,” he said.
Ratcliffe was presented with an engraved plaque after his speech by LTC Cunningham.
State Rep. Nathan Beard attended the event with his wife. (He was the guest speaker last year) “To sit back and watch, it was just spectacular, so moving to hear the comments and to watch the presentation from JROTC; I was brought to tears, it was just wonderful to remember,” Beard said.
“And that's what I got from our speaker, that we've got to remember, and that's what this day is all about, all the sacrifices they've given,” he noted. His father, Richard Beard was one of the honored guests on Veterans Day at Smith-Cotton.
Pettis County Presiding Commissioner David Dick said the ceremony was superb and solemn.
“These guys and gals have been everywhere on our behalf, so it's only fitting that we treat them as we should. We can vote like we did this week, because they stood somewhere on foreign soil and said we could. And it's the right thing to do,” Dick commented afterwards. “ I think we owe them the ultimate gratitude and also the solemness that's accorded to them, because they put their life on the line and not all of them came home.”
S-C JROTC presented the Colors while each branch of the Service stood and was recognized while their individual anthem was played. New Score and Carabet performed the National Anthem. A POW-MIA ceremony was later performed by S-C JROTC cadets.
The VFW Post 2591 Color Guard provided a 21-gun salute near the end of the program just outside the gym. That was followed by the playing of Taps.
The S-C student body waved the red, white & blue towards the end of the ceremony in a patriotic gesture for the Vets.