Veterans thanked at ceremony

Shawn Hardy
Hands throughout the audience went up when Mike Blank, senior vice commander of Harry D. Zeigler VFW Post 6319 and host of Greencastle's Veterans Day ceremony, asked those who have served to raise their hands. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Greencastle-Antrim residents gathered on North Washington Street for the community's annual Veterans Day ceremony on Monday.

What people in Greencastle did on that day and at that time in 1918 when World War I ended was included in the presentation by Mayor Ben Thomas Jr., the day's speaker.

Church bells rang and factory whistles blew. Veterans came home and became leaders of the community and raised there families here. Those who did not come home are among the names listed on the Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Memorial, which provided the backdrop for the ceremony.

In 1940, war came knocking on the door again and men and women from Greencastle-Antrim answered the call. At home, the community mobilized with defense, blackout and air raid drills, war bonds, victory gardens and the rationing of things like tires, gas, sugar and meat.

Thomas commented on all the veterans he could see in the audience, including Chet Williams, who served in World War II and his son, Larry, who served in Vietnam.

"I see Korea ... the Middle East, it's amazing how many in Greencastle-Antrim have served," Thomas said.

"Welcome home," Thomas said, both to those who were raised here and those who have moved here. "You have served this community well."

Some served in times of war and others in times of peace, "But was there ever really peace in the world?" he asked.

What would happen if all military, police and first responders were told to take a week off, he wondered.

"What would the world be like ... this country be like, without your dedication?" he asked.

He encouraged the veterans to talk to their family members and friends about their service, and reminded them it is OK for men to hug each other.

Thomas wrapped up his presentation with a proclamation:

"Whereas, Veterans’ Day is formally observed on this date and was formerly known as Armistice Day; and

"Whereas, every day we commemorate the service of the men and women who have served or are serving in our Armed Forces with some 2.1 million men and women serving today; and

"Whereas, thousands of men and women from the Greencastle-Antrim community have served in times of war and peace who were either born and raised here or have moved here to call this great community home.

"Now, therefore, be it resolved, as the Mayor of the Borough of Greencastle, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I join our citizens affirming our gratitude and honor all United States military veterans across this Nation and here in Greencastle for your devotion to patriotism, freedom, service to your Brother and Sister Veterans, and the Greencastle community for God — duty, honor and country."