BATTLE GROUND — “What a great day it is, I’m glad you came,” Battle Ground Mayor Philip Johnson told the crowd of community members and veterans who gathered in the Battle Ground Community Center this morning for Battle Ground’s Veterans Day Ceremony.
Everyone that walked into the community center Friday morning was asked by a few young members of an area Boy Scout troop if they had served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Those who said yes were then given a bright red paper poppy to wear into the ceremony.
Held at the community center this year instead of at the city’s Veterans Memorial due to the threat of rain, Johnson kicked off the morning’s ceremony by recognizing anyone in attendance who had served in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the Afghanistan/Iraq War. He then also recognized anyone who had served in the U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and the Army, jokingly adding that he is biased toward the Army, having served in that branch himself.
Johnson told the crowd that before he made his way to the community center that morning, he stopped by the Veterans Memorial in Kiwanis Park.
“Every time I’ve been to the memorial in the last year, I’ve seen Cub Scout groups, Boy Scout groups, Brownie groups and Girl Scout groups there learning lessons about what went on and what the memorial means,” Johnson said. “I’ve seen individuals sitting on the barrier around the wall and just looking. It’s been a great thing for the community.”
Johnson then said he wanted to read a couple of handwritten letters that some young children had left at the memorial recently. Johnson became emotional as he read through two of the letters, both of which thanked those who had served and fought for freedom in our country. One ended, “I hope one day I grow up and have as much courage as you. You’re my hero.”
“To all my fellow veterans, I salute you,” Johnson said. “I wish you peace, happiness and good fortune.”
The end of the ceremony consisted of Battle Ground Council Member Cherish DesRochers reading the 31 names of the fallen veterans who are listed on Battle Ground’s Veterans Memorial. Battle Ground High School student Steve Montecucco then brought the ceremony to a close by playing a medley of service songs and Taps on the trumpet.