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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – From breakfast to an afternoon parade, veterans in Childress were honored on Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Veterans Day started at Elks Lodge #1113, said Dave Griminger, who is the Elks Lodge veterans representative and chaplain. While attendance was down this year because of COVID-19, Griminger said there was still a good number of carryout meals as well as a group that ate at the lodge and visited.
“The Elks host the annual breakfast as a way of saying thank you to all veterans, first responders and other essential personnel who support them during the year in the community,” he said. “Everyone who got a breakfast to go or sat down to enjoy it was extremely thankful to the lodge for doing this every year.”
Childress Elementary School (CES) Principal Janet Word said CES students and staff held a parade for veterans since most activities that have always been provided for veterans were canceled because of COVID-19. All 450 students and the entire CES staff waved flags, held hand-made signs and cheered as veterans drove by.
Veterans also received a bag of treats, Word said. There were 27 cars during the parade, and many of them had more than one veteran.
“The parade was awesome,” Word said. “This was a time our students could do something for others while learning about veterans and the true meaning of Veterans Day. It was so special.”
This was also special to Griminger, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1975 to 1995. He said Memorial Day and Veterans Day are two days set aside each year to honor veterans, but they are done in different ways.
While Veterans Day is a day for thanking veterans for serving and those who are still serving, he said Memorial Day is a day for honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice or served and have passed away.
“Memorial Day is a reminder that our freedom is not free,” he explained. “Men and women served and died for this country, so we may have the freedoms and rights we have today.”
Because veterans might have served in Korea, Vietnam or in the Gulf Crisis and lost friends and teammates, Griminger said to please not say “Happy Memorial Day” to a veteran. To them, it is not a day to be taken lightly.
But thanking military men and women on Veterans Day is a great way to show them the appreciation they deserve, Griminger said. Cheryl Bruce’s father is a good example.
“Thank you Childress Elementary for the drive by parade honoring the veterans,” Bruce said. “It was the highlight of my 96-year-old WWII veteran father’s day! He even asked me if we could drive around the block one more time. It was an added bonus to see two of his six great-grandsons waving and holding posters.”
Griminger said thanking a veteran means so much to him, his comrades and other veterans.
“The next time you see someone wearing a veterans hat, no matter what branch of the military, take the time to walk over, stick your hand out and say thank you,” Griminger said. “It will brighten that veteran’s day to let him know he’s appreciated.”