WUFT News

Veterans Day Celebration Welcomes Home Recent Service Members

By on November 11th, 2014

Alachua County held its annual Veterans Day celebration on Tuesday at the Alachua County Veterans Memorial in Kanapaha Park. The celebration focused on welcoming home returning service members of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

Two Milton Lewis Young Marines fold the American flag during the Alachua County Veterans Day Celebration.

Whitney Lavaux / WUFT

Two Milton Lewis Young Marines fold the American flag during the Alachua County Veterans Day Celebration.

There are currently almost 22 million veterans in the United States with around 18,000 living in Alachua County, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Teresa Turner, a transition patient advocate, said that a disconnect exists between active duty service members and their transition to the VA.

“It’s a lack of factual information about their eligibility,” Turner said.

Forest Hope, a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, remembers his experience returning home as a difficult one, especially because of protestors.

“Whenever you get out, you no longer have that team. You’re back as a [individual] person again.” Hope said.

Young Marines and Veterans prepare for the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Alachua County Veterans Day Celebration.

Whitney Lavaux / WUFT

Young marines and veterans prepare for the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Alachua County Veterans Day Celebration.

The Alachua County Veterans Memorial honors 267 fallen veterans that entered military service in Alachua County and 504 University of Florida students who died as a result of war.

Ken Sassaman, a former corporal in the United States Army, said he remembers the Korean War as if it were yesterday. On the day the truce was signed, he said, he could hear rounds being fired, then all of a sudden, total silence.

Sassaman said participating in the Veterans Day celebration helps him continue being a “part of what helps keep America free.”

“It was the greatest thing in the world because we knew the war was over and we’d be going home,” Sassaman said. “My wish would be that there would be no more war.”

The celebration featured skydivers, a flag ceremony, a wreath laying ceremony and musical tributes of “America the Beautiful” and “Marches of the Armed Forces” from the Ft. Clarke Middle School Band.

Community members watch skydivers jump in celebration of Veterans Day.

Whitney Lavaux / WUFT

Community members watch skydivers jump in celebration of Veterans Day.

Terry Martin-Back, who served in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, said he came to the celebration to commemorate the soldiers and their stories.

“These are my brothers and sisters in arms,” Martin-Back said. “I am here to remember them.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Luke Watkins, the 28-year-old partner of Black Hog Farms, is working toward creating a weekly farmers market along the St. Johns River in Palatka. The Saturday market will feature local farmers, musicians, artists and food trucks.

Local Businessperson Plans Farmers Market For Palatka

While Palatka’s government hopes to attract visitors to their area with the riverfront development project, a local business owner has his own idea for bringing in more people.
Luke Watkins, whose family operates Black Hog Farm, envisions a weekly farmers market that goes beyond fresh produce. Watkins said he hopes to create a smaller version of Jacksonville’s Riverside Arts Market by including local artists, musicians and food trucks in his market.


Robert Yard performs a song for a toddler using a Lakota love flute at the Cedar Key Fine Arts Festival in Cedar Key, Florida. Yard held impromptu music lessons throughout the day for patrons that were curious about playing an instrument. (Photo by Sydnei Cartwright)

Patrons and Artists Pack Cedar Key for 51st Annual Fine Arts Festival

Cedar Key held its 51st annual Cedar Key Fine Arts Festival this past Saturday and Sunday, and experienced a large turnout from supporting counties and out-of-state visitors. The Festival showcased a number of different arts including jewelry, photography, wood making, and mixed media.


A group of 'dirty kids' fly a sign on the corner of SE 1st St and SE 2nd Pl while one patches up a jacket and another plays guitar on Jan. 23, 2015 in Gainesville​. Photo by Andrea Sarcos/WUFT News

‘Home-Free’ Squatters Find Community In Gainesville

An abandoned house in Gainesville became a home for a group of individuals that call themselves “dirty kids.” The dirty kids feel that they are different from homeless people.


IMG_8377

Chicken House Fire Kills 24,000 Chicks

Chickens die in a chicken house fire at Saavedra Farms on Wednesday night.


featured

Gainesville Family First To Win The Michelle Park Family Recreation Scholarship

The Garrity family is the first family to receive the Michelle Park Family Recreation Scholarship from the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department. The scholarship is valued at $1,500 and was created for families to engage in recreational and cultural activities for free.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments