Avoyelles communities observe Veterans Day in several events
Cold temperatures and the threat of rain did not halt all Veterans Day commemorations in Avoyelles Parish. Schools and communities held programs as early as last Thursday (Nov. 8) to honor those who have served in the nation’s armed forces. Severe storms on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, forced ceremonies at Avoyelles Veterans Monument at Cottonport Bank in Mansura and in the Ward 1 community to be canceled.
Cottonport moved its Nov. 8 event indoors in the community center.
“We are small, but we are here to honor our veterans,” Mayor Scotty Scott said. “We are already planning a large outdoor event for next year.”
Town Clerk Theresa Jenkins Anderson. an Army veteran, was emcee for the event.
“I served for 20 years,” she said, noting that serving in a platoon teaches a person to work closely and “become a family” with their co-workers.
The guest speaker in Cottonport was area business owner, Herndon “Buzz” Jeansonne. Jeansonne, a Marine Corps veteran, spoke on the importance of having and teaching respect for both country and the military.
The largest Veterans Day program was held on Friday (Nov. 9) in the Marksville High auditorium. Marksville High and Marksville Elementary staff coordinated the event.
The program was run completely by students and featured retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John Bordelon as guest speaker. Bordelon recalled many close calls he and his fellow airmen had while serving in tours overseas.
On Saturday, Sheriff Doug Anderson spoke to a group gathered at the Fifth Ward Veterans Memorial for their Veterans Day program.
Anderson encouraged all present to instill pride in country and the military for generations to come.
“These are not only our men and women of the military,” he said. “These are our family members whose names should be honored.”
This past Monday (Nov. 12), rainy weather forced the Paragon Casino Resort Veterans Day program to be moved to the entrance of the Earl J. Barbry Convention Center.
Sgt. Alpichon Lavais, a Marksville native, was the guest speaker.
“After Sept. 11 (2001), I re-enlisted,” he said. “I encourage everyone to remember the late John F. Kennedy speech when thinking about our military brothers and sisters. We did not ask what our country could do for us, but what we could do for our country.”
In Bunkie, American Legion Commander Roger Moreau provided the banners of all branches of the U.S. military and service-related organizations. He also organized and prepared a veteran-themed memorabilia display.
Guest speaker was retired U.S. Army Col. Charles Jones, a two-tour combat veteran of Vietnam.
Jones’ address included an informative history of Veterans Day.
He called for greater recognition and appreciation of our veterans year-round, and not just at a few holidays during the year.
Sgt. 1st Class Natalie Wall of the Louisiana National Guard’s 1086th Transportation Company spoke about the unit’s past deployments and current activities.
Mayor Bruce Coulon recognized all veterans in attendance. Each veteran was given the opportunity to talk about his or her service.
Refreshments were served by Fire Chief Joey Frank and members of the Bunkie Fire Department.