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

Signs indicating unsafe levels of bacteria in Hogtown Creek were posted in June, according to Linda Demetropoulos, nature manager of the city of Gainesville Parks Department. Visitors can find these signs around various areas of local parks.

Hogtown Creek Bacteria Levels Unsafe For Human Use

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department has found unsafe levels of bacteria in Hogtown Creek waters.


I-75 at MM385 is backed up due to manhunt. Photo via @GACSmarttraffic.

I-75 Shut Down After Trooper Involved In Shooting

Update 7/27/2015 at 7:15 p.m.: The suspect has been identified as Earl Jackson, according to a news release from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.


Kristen Hadeed, founder of Student Maid, and Rich Blaser, co-founder of Infinite Energy, explain how Josh impacted the start-up community in Gainesville. They were part of a group of young entrepreneurs in Gainesville who met monthly to discuss their work.

Memorial Held for Gainesville Entrepreneur

A memorial for Josh Greenberg, the co-founder of music streaming service Grooveshark, was held Friday evening at the Phillips Center. He was found dead in his home July 19.


Gainesville Pictures 467

Lupus Patient Starts Support Group in Gainesville

Adoabi Ugochukwu, 22, was diagnosed with lupus at 15 years old. Now, she’s planning on starting a support group in Gainesville for lupus patients.


The interface of mobile service 311GNV on the iPhone. Debora Lima / WUFT News

Gainesville Launches Online, Mobile Service For Non-Emergency Reporting

The City of Gainesville launched online and mobile service 311GNV Tuesday. Through the service, Gainesville residents can report non-emergency issues like potholes, graffiti and broken street signs.


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