AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Veterans Day is usually a day for a parade in downtown Augusta. For the second year in a row, the streets were not filled with floats. But they were filled with strong emotions about this holiday, and this country.
“I can’t find no place else to be other than here today,” veteran Larry Dawson said.
Dawson was stationed in Germany during his time in the Armed Forces.
“Like they say, freedom ain’t free. I support the ones that laid the path for me,” Dawson said.
He served 20 years and 16 days.
Barry Stewart served in Iraq.
“Whenever you see a veteran, just say thank you for your service,” Stewart said. “Watch you put a smile on someone’s face. And what’s better than that?”
The City of Augusta held a special ceremony Thursday morning at the All Wars Monument. Speakers included Mayor Hardie Davis Jr., Congressman Rick Allen, and Brigadier General Paul T. Stanton.
“An opportunity like this morning when we get to come out and shake hands and have quick conversation with folks that have served all the way back to the Korean War and all the way forward, it really drives home the significance and the importance of Veterans Day,” Brigadier General Stanton said.
After the ceremony, a special float visited several American Legion Posts around town. It was a chance for people to pass by and pay tribute.
“We go and we serve our country and then we come back home and they kind of forget about us, so this is our day,” Commander of Post 505, Kenyetia Baker said. “This is our day to put on for our veterans to let them know that we’re special and we want you guys to know that you’re special as well.”
“It’s always important to celebrate our veterans on Veteran’s Day,” 11th District Commander Thomas Pinkney continued. “This is the day that we want to recognize these guys for the contributions we’ve made through the years.”
Local veterans say they hope for a full scale parade next year.