Paying homage: U. S. military servicemen honored at Iberville Parish Salute to Veterans

PETER SILAS PASQUA ppasqua@postsouth.com
Patriotic miniature hot air balloons are lifted into the sky at the conclusion of the Iberville Parish Salute to Veterans on Monday afternoon at the Iberville Parish Veterans Memorial. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

PLAQUEMINE - Past and present servicemen of the United States' military were honored during a ceremony at the Iberville Parish Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day Monday afternoon.

It marked the fifth year of the celebration sponsored by the Iberville Parish Council that includes a memorial wall featuring photos of nearly 2,000 veterans and active military personnel who have ties to the area.

"I thank you the veterans for all of your sacrifices so that we can live in the best country in the world – America," Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. said. "There is nothing more that touches me than this event here."

U.S. Army Veteran James "Fry" Hymel served as master of ceremonies and Rev. John Jordan Jr. gave the invocation.

"You are heroes and I don't think you get enough recognition," State Rep. Ricky Ward said. "The gratitude shouldn't stop on Veterans' Day but last throughout the year."

A joint military services color guard presented the flags and musical performances were rendered by The Iberville Math, Science and Arts Academy Orchestra under the direction of conductor Michael Berthelot, the Baton Rouge Pipe and Drums, The Simms Sons and U.S. Navy Band.

"We can't do this often enough to show you how much we care," State Rep. Karen St. Germain said.

Major General Glenn Curtis of the Louisiana National Guard was the guest speaker and noted approximately 42 million Americans have served the country since its' founding in 1776 and nearly 300,000 veterans live in the state of Louisiana today.

"If you think it is a great day to be an American, then thank a veteran," Curtis said. "Louisiana has deep roots in military service. Thank you for giving us the country you allowed us to inherit."

The Westside Honor Guard conducted a rifle salute in recognition of MIAs and POWs to the tune of TAPS played by Johnny Wilbert before all past and present serviceman where recognized according to their branch.

Rev. Dutch Pierre gave the closing prayer and an ascending patriotic light show concluded the event. Cub Scouts presented programs and small American flags to attendees.