Ceremony honors local veterans
Cannon Connections photo: Argen Duncan Bataan Death March survivor Irvin Butler of Portales sits while attendees sing “America the Beautiful” during the 63rd annual American Legion Tribute to Veterans Wednesday at the Memorial Building. He and the widows of other local survivors were given gifts of appreciation at the event.
Those who recognize freedom comes with responsibility and sacrifice, those who raised their right hands and offered themselves fully for what needed to be done — these are the people recognized and honored on Veterans Day, the Cannon Air Force Base wing commander said.
Col. Stephen A. Clark spoke at the American Legion Tribute to Veterans Wednesday at the Memorial Building in Portales. He said the people who gave the supreme sacrifice missed much — holding a newborn, walking their daughters down the aisle, the struggle and rewards of life.
Patriotism is more than the veterans’ sacrifices, Clark continued.
“It is the spouse that carries on alone over the long months and even years, not knowing what the future holds,” he said.
It’s the children who endure frequent moves and obstacles, Clark said, and the parents who worry even as they’re proud of what their child became.
“It is the community that rallies behind those left behind with support and encouragement,” he said.
Joe Blair, U.S. Navy World War II veteran and commander of the local American Legion post, honored prisoners of war and military personnel missing in action.
“Let us pray to our Supreme Commander that our comrades will soon be back in our ranks,” he said. “Let us remember and never forget their supreme sacrifice.”
Also, Bataan Death March survivor Irvin Butler of Portales and survivors’ widows Cookie McGee, Irene Wall, Rowena Pruitt and Ima Gene McCormick received gifts of appreciation.
Two classes, Hall’s students from Farwell and a group of eighth-graders from Portales Junior High School, attended the event.
“We hope more kids our age will become more grateful for what you have done for our country,” said eighth-grader Jaycey Morgan-Tivis, speaking on behalf of her class early in the program.
She added that they hoped the nation continues to support the military.
“We can have a brighter future because of you,” she concluded.