Veterans honored at local ceremonies

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer

Those who recognize freedom comes with responsibility and sacrifice, those who raised their right hands and offered themselves fully for what needed to be done — these are the people recognized and honored on Veterans Day, the Cannon Air Force Base wing commander said.

Col. Stephen A. Clark was one speaker at the American Legion Tribute to Veterans Wednesday at the Memorial Building in Portales.

At the same time, Eastern New Mexico University held a Veterans Day Celebration organized by the Non-Traditional Student Organization.

ENMU President Steven Gamble said Felicia Lafuente, who grew up in a Navy family, gave a good address about her family’s experience with the military, and Master of Ceremonies Donald “Doc” Elder recognized the veterans and military spouses present.

The Cannon Air Force Base color guard made its annual appearance as well.

“They add so much to it,” Gamble said.

Also, Air Force veteran Karla Eaton sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” and Scott Beach, who is retired from the military, performed “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful” on the bagpipes.

At the American Legion ceremony, Clark said the people who gave the supreme sacrifice missed much — holding a newborn, walking their daughters down the aisle, the struggle and rewards of life.

Patriotism is more than the veterans’ sacrifices, Clark continued.

“It is the spouse that carries on alone over the long months and even years, not knowing what the future holds,” he said.

It’s the children who endure frequent moves and obstacles, Clark said, and the parents who worry even as they’re proud of what their child became.

“It is the community that rallies behind those left behind with support and encouragement,” he said.

Joe Blair, U.S. Navy World War II veteran and commander of the local American Legion post, honored prisoners of war and military personnel missing in action.

“Let us pray to our Supreme Commander that our comrades will soon be back in our ranks,” he said. “Let us remember and never forget their supreme sacrifice.”

Also, Bataan Death March survivor Irvin Butler of Portales and survivors’ widows Cookie McGee, Irene Wall, Rowena Pruitt and Ima Gene McCormick received gifts of appreciation.

Two classes, Hall’s students from Farwell and a group of eighth-graders from Portales Junior High School, attended the event.

“We hope more kids our age will become more grateful for what you have done for our country,” said eighth-grader Jaycey Morgan-Tivis, speaking on behalf of her class early in the program.

She added that they hoped the nation continues to support the military.

“We can have a brighter future because of you,” she concluded