Veterans Day was celebrated a day later than usual this year at the Ardmore Veterans Center as November 11 fell on a Sunday — and the recreation room was filled with veterans, loved ones and center staff.
The Ardmore Youth and Community Band, led by Director Chauvin Aaron, played patriotic music for the crowd prior to the presentation of colors.
Patriot Guard Riders, led by State Captain Randy
Gilreath, also attended the morning’s events. Colors were posted by two members of the US Army’s 401st Engineer Company, SSG Benjamin Miller and SPC Dennis Gay. Miller and Gay were later presented with certificates of appreciation for their service by RADM Wesley Hull from the Carter County Veterans Council.
The invocation and benediction were offered by Wayne Lawson, senior pastor at First Baptist Church Northeast Ardmore, followed by the pledge of allegiance by the administrator of the Ardmore Center, Shawn Kirkland.
Hull said Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, the only American holiday created to remember a specific moment in time. “During the height of the Cold War, following the carnage of World War II and the Korean War, President Eisenhower in 1954, signed legislation designating November 11 as Veterans Day,” Hull said.  “This day, on which a grateful nation, on a day dedicated to world peace, may pay homage to all of its veterans, who have contributed so much to world peace and the preservation of our way of life.”
“As we commemorate Veterans Day, we proudly and gratefully recognize the hardships and sacrifices demanded from and faithfully accepted by the millions of men and women who have defended our land in war and peace,” Hull said. “It’s a day to celebrate peace and the bright victories that grew from the dark battles.” Hull said Veterans Day is also a reminder of the obligation to safeguard the legacy of the founding fathers, a legacy of freedom, justice and liberty.
MSG Pam Nelson, US Army Retired, recognized two local Gold Star Mothers, those who have lost sons or daughters in service of the United States Armed Forces. “Gold Star Mothers in Carter County, we have Marjorie Armstrong and Angelia Phillips,” Nelson said.
“We must always keep them in mind,” Hull said. “As we honor veterans today, I want to be sure we remember the families that sacrificed so much while their loved ones were serving in uniform — not knowing when they would see them again.”
Major Eugene S. Thompson, US Army Retired, said today marked the 100th observance of this day honoring veterans. “According to the best records I could find, there are approximately 42 million Americans who’ve served in our Armed Forces,” Thompson said. “We’ve pledged to remain ever vigilant to defend our freedom and our way of life.”
Thompson said the nation has been able to prosper because freedom and dignity have been more available here than any other place. “The price for this freedom has been high,” Thompson said. “We have always been willing to pay that price.”
“I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and I will do my utmost, as if the whole issue of this struggle depended on me alone,” Thompson read from a found diary of Martin Triptoe, who left a small town barbershop in 1917 to join the Rainbow Division fighting in France, and later was killed on the Western Front. “I believe for the most part that’s the attitude that our soldiers, sailors and marines go to battle with,” Thompson said.   
At the end of Thompson’s speech, Seth Morgan from the Community Band played taps to commemorate the day.