The tradition continues in Newton this Veterans Day with a speech from a retired Marine officer, music, prayers and hundreds of American flags flying on the Jasper County Courthouse Square Monday.
The annual Veterans Day program starts at approximately 10:15 a.m. on the Nov. 11 holiday with music by the Jasper County Junior High Band. The Pledge of Allegiance will be conducted by Jasper County Boy and Girl Scouts. There will be other musical performances by different groups during the program.
Veterans from across the county will participate in the ceremony. Chad Miller will be the master of ceremonies. The event also draws participation from local families loaning their memorial flags of loved ones who served in the military.
These flags, folded in a triangle, are given to a spouse or family member, during the graveside services for a veteran. It is an emotional moment when the flag is handed over. That is why these flags have special meaning for the families. Up to 500 flags are placed around the Square on each Veterans Day and in different points, such as by the veteran memorial and the cannon.
The featured speaker for that morning is Major Robert Doss, retired from the United States Marine Corps. Doss, a 1975 Newton High School graduate. He served as a Marine “ground pounder” and later became an aviator, piloting assault helicopters during several different overseas deployments, including missions in Somalia, Operation Desert Storm, the Balkans, and Liberia where an American embassy was under siege.
He retired from the Marines after 24 years in the Corps and now lives in Pensacola, Fla., with his wife of 38 years, Christina, the daughter of a career Marine. The couple has two sons with long service in the Marines. There are also other family ties to the Corps for the Doss family.
After Doss completes his words, Jasper County veterans will conduct the firing of volleys, then followed by the playing of Taps by Clayton and Nicholas Beavers.
There will also be performances of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Sara Burtis, Karesyn Martin, Charlotte Schackmann and Isaac Street. “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” a song popular during the Vietnam War, will be sung by Mike Dasenbrock, Julie French, Vicki Keller, Cathy Lewis and Kenny Yager. “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” will also be performed by Dasenbrock, French, Keller, Lewis and Yager.
Eric Bridges, minister at Latona Church of Christ, will offer the invocation, and Pastor Ron Mulvey of Potter’s House Ministry will conduct the benediction.
There will be a group photo taken on the courthouse lawn. Then the public is invited to dig into ham and beans and cornbread for lunch at the Jasper Post 20 American Legion Building, located east of the Square.