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Music and messages from the Veterans Day 2012: A Salute to the Armed Forces ceremony brought together community members at the Pioneer Park Pavilion in downtown Puyallup on Veterans Day to honor those who served.
The Puyallup Valley Community Band graced the ceremony with its bright melodies of Let Freedom Ring and Washington Post March. Vocals by the Tapestry Singers and the Kalles Junior High School Singers brought memories of freedom fought and died for.
Jack Daucer of Puyallup Valley VFW Post 2224, opened the celebration with a word of prayer. The American Heritage Girls Troop, dressed in the colors of the flag, led the pledge of allegiance.
Retired Col. Joe Jackson, a Vietnam veteran who attended the event, went on a hazardous mission to rescue members of a three-man Air Force combat control team from the Special Forces camp at Kham Duc.
Jackson was flying over Vietnam in his C-123 aircraft on Mother’s Day in 1968. News of the mission came to him and he took the job despite the camp being controlled by enemy forces. This didn’t hinder Jackson from freeing the team. He was awarded the Metal of Honor for his bravery.
Jackson was the guest speaker for the ceremony and spoke about the importance of the veterans.
“It wasn’t writers who guaranteed the freedom of the press; it was the veterans. It wasn’t the minister who guaranteed the freedom of religion; it was the veterans….We have much to be thankful for,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s speech reminded community members that they shouldn’t wait for Veterans Day to honor the veterans. He encouraged people to thank veterans they meet, whether they know them or not.
Jackson concluded by thanking all his fellow veterans.
“Even though I am one,” Jackson said.
Daucer concurred with Jackson’s sentiment.
“Veterans are still serving today with honor,” Daucer said.
The celebration continued with the spirit of patriotic songs and the presentation of the Service flags by JROTC cadets who represented the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.
As the band concluded the ceremony with The Stars and Stripes Forever, the crowd stood. Faces of the young and old had the glimmer of admiration in their eyes.
The spirit of pride was an indomitable force as the final notes of the song echoed, bringing an applause louder than gun shots.
Community members thanked the men and women in uniform for their service. Veterans and non-veterans were given a red poppy flower to take home with them. A symbol of the unity community members have in their appreciation for each other.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost
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