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Post 17 hosts Veterans Day event

Posted: November 13, 2012 7:34 p.m.
Updated: November 14, 2012 5:00 a.m.
Miciah Bennett/C-I

This year, Kershaw County residents were allowed to place poppies on white crosses that commemorated now-deceased service-people from Kershaw County.

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Families were a focus for Col. Dale Hall, chief of staff for the South Carolina National Guard, at the 2012 Veterans Day Observance held Friday at American Legion James Leroy Belk Post No. 17.

A service-member’s family allows men and women all over the country to fully commit their time and services to their state and the United States, said Hall, a 1980 graduate of the Camden High School and former JROTC cadet.

“Family is the pillar of support for veterans,” he said. “This day is a not only a tribute to the veteran, but also to the family that stands beside them. I want to thank each family member listening today for all their sacrifices in support of their veteran.”

A Lugoff resident, Hall said it is a “privilege” to the live in a community where veterans are respected for their professionalism, their duty and sacrifices. Hall attended The Citadel as a “Distinguished Military Student” and a “Distinguished Military Graduate,” and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Hall was joined by his military family at the event: his wife, Sheila, their daughter, Becky, son Ben; as well as his-father-in law, John Jeffords, of Camden, an Air Force veteran, who were “honored to be asked to attend the event.” Col. Hall and Mr. Jefford are members of the Post No. 17.

Hall posed a question to JROTC cadets from the U.S. Army JROTC program at the Continuous Learning Center, Camden Military Academy, North Central High School and the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice’s Birchwood High School: “Is there a place for them in the military of the future?”

Hall reminded the public of the great efforts of the “next great generation of heroes” since Sept. 11, 2001, and that freedom comes with a cost, as well as the efforts of Camden’s C Company, 151 SC.

“As then President George W. Bush said, ‘In every generation, the world has produced enemies of freedom. They have attacked us because we are freedom’s home and defender, and commitment of our father’s is now the calling of our time.’ Since that infamous day, nearly 13,500 S.C. Army National Guard men and women have answered our nation’s call. In fact, over 1,500 are currently deployed throughout the world. Over 2,000 of these South Carolina heroes have served in Operation Noble Eagle securing key military and national infrastructure assets including the National Capital Region. In Operation Enduring Freedom, over 3,500 of our Guardsmen have helped take the fight to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan since 9-11. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the former “second front” in our Nation’s Global War on Terrorism, more than 3,100 SCARNG Guardsmen helped liberate and bring peace to the people of Iraq.”

Units from South Carolina have earned four Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, three Army Valorous Unit Awards, 14 Army Meritorious Unit Commendations, and three Army Superior Unit Awards, Hall said.

The annual Veterans Day event was sponsored by Post 17, American Legion Sanders Stoney Post No. 203, Veterans of Foreign Wars Roberts Dixon Post No. 5928, Kershaw County Leathernecks Marine League DET No. 1146 and the auxiliaries affiliated with each post. Each year the event begins at 11 a.m., the time the Armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, ending World War I. This year, Kershaw County resident’s of all ages were invited to place poppies on white crosses on Post 17’s field; “an effort to show that all members of the community honor those military personnel who served gallantly in past military involvements, not returning.”

W. Ashby Rhame, past Post 17 commander, served as master of ceremonies; he and his wife, Dr. Melissa Osborne Rhame, coordinated the event. The Camden High School Band was led by Robert Spitler. Guests included Rep. Laurie Funderburk, newly elected state Senator Katrina Shealy, Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan and Executive Director for K-12 Instruction Tim Hopkins. The guests commemorated veterans and various commanders from the various sponsoring posts.

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