On a very blustery, chilly and rainy morning, the annual Veterans Day ceremony was held on Wednesday, November 11, at 10 a.m. at Greenville County Square. The theme of this year’s program was “Veterans Honoring Veterans.”
Approximately 250 veterans, family members, and guests braved the elements to attend this year’s program.
George Blevins, Greenville County Veterans Affairs Officer, welcomed those attending the event this year in spite of the bad weather conditions.
Rev. Allen C. Freeman, Past American Legion Chaplain, presented the opening prayer.
A joint color guard from Greenville American Legion Post 3 and Owens/Kennemore Detachment 1105 Marine Corps League posted the colors.
Former World War II prisoners of war, Roy McJunkin and Vic Fienup placed the POW/MIA flag on the empty chair.
Korean War Veterans Associates 1st Vice-President Francis Thompson led those attending in the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the flag.
The “Greenville In Harmony Show Chorus” sang the National Anthem. The group also sang other patriotic songs during the program.
The Greenville County Joint Veterans Service Council commanders participated in the first “veterans” of the year selection program.
American Legion Post 3 Commander John Collins selected World War II Travis Edward Ellenburg from Greer, as the American Legion veteran of the year. Commander Collins read the certificate of appreciation and presented it to him, along with a gift card.
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) President Michael Gonzales selected World War II U.S. Navy Veteran Earl V. Ziebell as their veteran of the year. Pres. Gonzales presented Mr. Ziebell a gift card and a token from the organization.
Korean War Veterans Associates 1st Vice-President Francis Thompson selected World War II U.S. Army veteran Paul McIntosh as their veteran of the year. Billy Rodgers, representing the Military Order of the Purple Heart Organization, also selected Paul McIntosh as their veteran of the year. Mr. McIntosh was presented two gift cards.
Owens/Kennemore Detachment 1105 Marine Corps League Commandant Richard Bagwell selected Viet Nam U.S. Marine Corps veteran Johnny Pilgram as their veteran of the year. Mr. Pilgram was presented a gift card. Because of his service related wounds, Mr. Pilgram is classified as 100% disabled.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Thurman Norris selected Viet Nam U.S. Army veteran Lem Harris, Jr. as their veteran of the year. Commander Norris presented Mr. Harris a certificate and a gift card.
American Ex-Prisoner of War (POW) representative Roy McJunkin selected World War II U.S. Army veteran Allan Thompson as their veteran of the year. Mr. Thompson was presented a gift card.
South Carolina Veterans Service Corps Commander William Quinton selected Greenville County Veterans Affairs Officer George Blevins as their veteran of the year. Blevins was honored for being a veteran, and for all the endless hours spent helping all veterans, arranging the Memorial Day program each year as well as the annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11th.
He was also responsible for erecting the Veterans Memorial Wall at Greenville County Square.
Greenville Mayor Knox White and Greenville County Councilman Dr. Bob Taylor placed a wreath next to the POW/MIA draped empty chair instead of placing it at the wall monument because of the weather conditions.
Captain Charles F. Gandy VFW Post 6734 performed a rifle volley salute to fallen veterans. “TAPS” was played by Senior concert band member Chuck Heater.