The night before Veterans Day proper, members of Buster Bedford Post 177 in Murfreesboro, Tenn., gathered with family and friends to honor veterans young and old with a banquet program at the city’s First Baptist Church.
“All our lives are very busy, and we think that it’s important to take a couple hours, just to sit around, fellowship, eat food, enjoy each other’s company, get a chance to see the different families just before Thanksgiving, and it works out really well in my opinion,” said Post 177 Commander Charles J. Griffith Jr.
Griffith acknowledged the many events on Veterans Day itself — free meals for veterans, parades around the state — led to the post’s decision to commemorate the holiday on a different day. Friday’s event was the ninth annual Post 177 Veterans Banquet.
Besides dinner, the program features award presentations honoring a most seasoned veteran, a female veteran, a future veteran and, for the first time this year, a community honoree.
The post recognized Caroline Wade with that community award, noting her 27 years of work at Alvin C. York Veterans Administration Hospital in Murfreesboro, including calling bingo for Post 177’s monthly bingo nights at the facility.
Other honorees included Samuel Fisher Jr., who served in the U.S. Army from 1945-47; Tonesha Garrett, a retired Air Force veteran; and Jasmine Puglisi, a senior at LaVergne High School and cadet captain in the school’s JROTC, which served as the evening’s color guard.
The event annually includes a guest speaker as well; this year’s was Army Reserve Capt. Michael Burrows, who founded a nonprofit charity, Veterans Aquatic Rehabilitation Foundation, to help rehabilitate and improve the quality of life for veterans.
Griffith and other speakers Friday night acknowledged the importance of honoring and reaching out to veterans of all ages.
“I think it’s important that we recognize as many World War II veterans, Korean War, and Vietnam veterans. … That is truly our greatest generation; if we don’t take time in events like this, then we have not done what we should be doing,” Griffith said.