U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson salutes his fellow veterans following his speech during the 2017 Veterans Day Ceremony in Gallipolis.
Michelle Miller/photo

Guest Speaker U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson commented on the current state of the nation during his speech at the 2017 Veterans Day ceremony, held yesterday at the Gallipolis City Park. Unlike the bleak portrait of America depicted on television, Johnson said the United States is still the greatest place to live.

“And the reason that it is, is because of the millions of brave Americans throughout our nation’s history that have stood up for the cause of freedom, volunteered to put on America’s military uniform and go off and carry the banner of freedom around the world,” said Congressman Johnson. “In fact, if you look at our nation’s history, starting in 1868, for those of you that have already studied that in High School, you will remember that we had just come off of a bloody civil war. We were never, have never been more divided as a nation, than we were then. And yet, in less than a generation, we came together with northerners and southerners, putting on the same uniform and marching off to Europe to fight off tyranny in Europe in World War I. We demobilized, did the same thing again in World War II, and then Korea, and then Vietnam and then, today’s modern war on terror.”

Instead of continuing his speech with original material, Congressman Johnson said he decided to finish with a

Taps were played during the 2017 Veterans Day Ceremony in Gallipolis by members of the Gallia Academy High School band (pictured) and South Gallia High School band.

speech originally given by then Lt. General John Kelly on November 13, 2010.

“I want to do something for you this morning that I rarely ever do. I’m going to take a speech that someone else gave because I heard it recently and I think when I share it with you, you will agree with me that it is absolutely appropriate for today,” said Congressman Johnson.

The speech revolved around a 2008 suicide bombing in Iraq and the six seconds two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, had to react before paying the ultimate price.

 

To hear the speech, click the link below.

Congressman_Johnson_speech_2017_Veterans_Day

 

Following the speech, Congressman Johnson closed with, “We live in the greatest nation on the planet and it’s because, as Americans, when the die is cast, we come together, we rally, we get the job done. I’m proud to be an American today and I know all of you are. To my fellow veterans, Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, God bless you and your families for the services you’ve provided to our great country. I am honored to stand among you and I salute you today.

During the ceremony, the River Valley High School Show Choir performed the National Anthem, Battle Hymn of the Republic and Because of the Brave. City Commission President Tony Gallagher read a proclamation from the City of Gallipolis and the VFW Honor Guard closed out the program with a rifle firing and TAPS, performed by members of the Gallia Academy High School and South Gallia High School bands.

The VFW Honor Guard performs a rifle salute during the 2017 Veterans Day ceremony in Gallipolis.
Michelle Miller/photo

Prior to the ceremony in the City Park, a parade took place through Downtown Gallipolis. The Gallia Herald broadcast the parade live on Facebook. See the video below.

 

Honoring Veterans

(Pictures submitted by readers)

MGSgt Rocky Bennett, USMC Ret. 22 yrs
James F. Dillon USAF served 4 years 1958-1961

 

Ralph Durst, Army, Korean War

 

R. Keith Jeffers, US Army Retired, 25 years of service 1 tour Vietnam, 1 tour Germany, 2 tours Korea

 

Jack D. Mayes, United States Marine Corps, Served during the Korean conflict
1953-1959