Stephens County marks Veterans Day.
The annual Veterans Day observance took place Sunday on the lawn of the historic Stephens County Courthouse in downtown Toccoa.
It is hosted each year by the veterans’ organizations of Stephens County, including the American Legion Post 104, Marine Corp Detachment 1303, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4346.
This year’s guest speaker was the Reverend Jerry Dodd.
He said those in attendance should strive to remember and thank veterans each and every day, not just one day a year.
“Rather than just celebrating one day out of the year every year, why can’t we celebrate every day,” said the Rev. Dodd. “After all, we enjoy the freedoms every day. If we are going to do this, then we are going to have to take a stand ourselves. Why? Because the majority of us here, I believe, are veterans. We have set the bar high for this country, so if there is going to be a change, we are going to have to make that change.”
The Rev. Dodd called on those in attendance to use their heads, their hearts, and their hands.
He said people should use their heads to study the circumstances that have led to prior conflicts.
“Let us learn from the mistakes of our past,” said the Rev. Dodd, “Only then can we avoid wars like the ones we have had.”
With their hearts, the Rev. Dodd said people should begin a discourse of civility towards and with one another.
“The prime example of the need for that (is) our country just finished its national election and the tone and rhetoric there was disheartening and should be disheartening to every American,” he said. “After all, we are one people. I say to us why do we allow that to continue?”
Finally, he said people should use their hands because celebrate is a verb that denotes action, not a noun.
“I say to you ‘thank you’ sounds a lot louder when it is accomplished by an action,” said the Rev. Dodd.
Sunday’s Veterans Day commemoration also included recognition of agencies and organizations that had done something to honor veterans, such as sponsoring a veterans’ coffee or handing out ‘thank you’ cards to veterans.
The event concluded with a poem and prayer from Sarajo Wilkes.