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Wayne County's Veterans Day Parade provides wonderful history lesson

Wayne County's Veterans Day Parade


Waynetonian Choir provided patriotic music

Waynetonian Choir members

The Wayne County Marching Band led the parade

JROTC marches in formation, leading the veterans

JROTC Color Guard (front to back) Dylan Powell, Tyler Lovett, Hallie Pyles, and Maggie Dishman

The flags for the individual branches of the military were shown around the Doughboy.

Monticello native B.G. Wright was the featured speaker

U.S. Army Colonel (Retired) B.G. Wright speaks at the ceremony

JROTC Battalion standing at attention

Nathaniel Watson played Taps

Cadet Private Joseph Nieto played Taps

 Colonel (retired) B.G. Wright Bio  Click here

               Wayne County School students had a number of heroes to be inspired by at the recent Veterans Day celebrations. It was quite a day for teachable moments with opportunities for students to participate in and learn from individuals that know the real meaning of service.

                Wayne County Schools lead the way through instructional activities regarding first hand examples of the meaning of Veterans Day. From the downtown parade to a variety of programs at the schools, it was a solemn and sentimental day for many of the participants and spectators.

                The celebration of the event began at the start of the month at Bell Elementary as they honored veterans through a program performed by Rhonda Ward’s second grade class. The WC JROTC Color Guard joined the children who performed a musical tribute for their second grade classmates, families and veterans in attendance.

                This past week, students observed local veterans being honored in a number of ways. In fact, the local schools made a huge contribution by participating in the annual parade program sponsored by the Wayne County Disabled American Veterans Chapter 105. The JROTC cadets dressed in their formal navy blue uniforms marched down Main Street in cadence. The cadets circled the Doughboy statue with the flags from all the branches of the military, while the Color Guard presented the colors. The rest of the battalion stood at attention behind the center of Public Square, showing respect. The Wayne County Marching Band members led the parade and provided the upbeat music for the ceremony. Two band members – Cadet Private Joseph Nieto and Nathaniel Watson - played Taps from the back corners of Public Square after the 21 Gun Salute by the DAV Honor Guard.

                Monticello native B.G. Wright, US Army Colonel (Retired) returned home to provide an excellent keynote address at the parade. The former commander of 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery who has had an impressive career with 25 years of legislative experience overlapping 22.5 years of military service, delivered a wonderful local history lesson for the students participating in the event. Even though he has traveled the world and held high positions, he was just as happy to share his time on Public Square in Monticello with the crowd that included family and old friends.

             “Our experiences are all different, yet there is a bond among veterans. This veteran is so very honored to have been asked to retune here, to my hometown….for Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, Armistice Day; we all come together for one reason – to remember,” said Colonel Wright.

              He looked back over the history of local veteran’s service and a scene in 1923 when a mounted platoon of Monticello’s National Guard, Troop B, 54th Machine Gun Squadron marched down Main Street. The Doughboy statue was unveiled by Captain John Tuttle, a prominent local lawyer, then an 86-year-old Civil War veteran. At that time, the statue cost $2,000, and the funds were raised by the local American Legion Post 134. 

                The Waynetonian Choir from Monticello Elementary was positioned on a corner on Public Square across from where the speaker stood. They were proud to sing a medley of patriotic songs for the crowd. They had already performed in the morning for their school’s assembly.

                Wayne County School parent Tim Bertram, a local timber businessman, spoke at his son Tate’s school, sharing his military experience and displaying mementos from his years of service that students got to view up close. The 2001 Wayne County High School graduate spoke about the four years he was in JROTC and the traits that he developed that remains with him today. “1SG Snyder and CW4 Inman made a very hard imprint on my life,” Bertram told the students. Since that foundation, he explained that all the military trainings and discipline he has experienced have made him a better person. He saved all of the cards and letters from family and friends during his deployments and explained the sacrifice soldiers make to protect their country. He explained that sacrifice also affects soldiers’ families.

               Patsy Sexton, commander of the Auxiliary for DAV Unit 105, made a heartfelt tribute to soldiers Missing in Action at a table set in their honor that they will never occupy. She explained how each item on the table symbolized everlasting concern for them.

               Wayne County Middle School Teacher Stephen Racz, a veteran who served six years in the Air Force and two years in the Kentucky National Guard provided instruction on veterans in the Social Studies classes throughout the day. He is a new teacher at the middle school this year and former teacher at Forest Hill Military Academy in Bourbon County that recently closed. A few days later after Veterans Day, he was pleased to see the students voluntarily telling visiting soldiers in the building who were there on other business, that they appreciated their service.

              The high school held an assembly coordinated by the JROTC Battalion that has become quite a tradition. Numerous veterans attended the afternoon program and proudly stood and saluted their various branches of the military flags as the cadets held them.

              Retired WC JROTC Instructor, CW4 (Retired) William Inman returned to campus from his home in Nashville, TN, to share a salute to veterans. He was right at home in the Rodney Woods Gymnasium where he was surrounded by students, staff and veterans. He gave an interactive speech bringing teachers to the floor to make the point that veterans are in everyone’s families. One of his former cadets, Anthony Hughes, who is currently stationed in Barbourville was a part of the message, as well. He concluded with remarks praising his Wayne County School colleague of 20 years, 1SG George Snyder, with the crowd bursting into applause with an emotional standing ovation.

             There was even a nod to the future, with 2019 graduate Braydon Denney in the audience. He had just completed basic training in Missouri to become a military policeman, and is on his way to being stationed in South Korea.

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