Community gathers to honor veterans JULIE GORHAM / CHRONICLE

The harmony of the Homosassa Elementary Choir didn’t leave one dry eye during Saturday’s fifth annual Old Homosassa Veterans Day Ceremony.

Students with Donna Olson’s choir group proudly supported local veterans by singing “You Are Our Heroes,” and “Thank You, Soldiers,” and passing out handmade thank-you notes.

“This is the biggest crowd I’ve seen in the last five years,” said Richard “Bud” Allen, the commander of Aaron A. Weaver, Chapter 776 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. “The purpose of this memorial was to honor veterans, especially those who gave some and some who gave all.”

Nearly 100 veterans, wives and families gathered along Yulee Drive. Each received a flag with a name holder to recognize a vet to put on display for Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8189 erected the memorial five years ago, which includes emblems of the five branches of military and the POW/MIA logo, plus individually sponsored monument stones containing the names of Citrus County veterans living and deceased.

Gripping renditions of the national anthem and “God Bless America” were also sung, while speakers spoke highly about the importance of respecting our freedoms and remembering why we are American.

“These veterans never aspired to be a part of this brotherhood, but we find ourselves woven together by the actions of the war,” Allen said. “Now is the time we should be honoring the symbol of our heritage; our flag and our anthem were created during hard-fought battles for freedom and independence.”

Before the final prayer, the children’s choir erected nearly 20 flags hallmarking the 25th Veterans Appreciation Week that is currently in the progress throughout the county.

Lucian Radd, chaplain of American Legion Post 166, pointed out the importance of the younger generations to gain this appreciation and understanding.

“The best thing we can do is participate in Veterans in the Classroom, it is amazing,” Radd said to the crowd. “They will keep our memories alive.”

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