JACKSON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Many celebrations will take place this week for Veterans all across north Alabama, ahead of the official holiday next Saturday. However, several dozen veterans from Jackson County were honored early at the "We Honor Veterans Lunch."
This is the fifth year for the event, which is held the Friday before or after Veterans Day, to assure those attending have a day that's all about them.
Tina Guess with Heartlite Hospice organizes the lunch each year and says it's important to celebrate our veterans on an alternate day that's all about them.
"They are so busy on Veterans Day, doing presentations and other things,that they really don't have a day to just sit down and be celebrated and let others do something for them," said Guess.
The lunch included a video presentation, a POW/MIA ceremony, performance of taps, and gifts for every attendee with personal thank you notes from students at Scottsboro High School.
Veterans' spouses were also welcome at the event, as were spouses of deceased veterans.
Wilma Shortt came to the lunch with her husband, Bennie, who served in the Army during Vietnam. She said celebrations like this are important for them to reflect on his years in service.
"I can remember how hard that time was because there was very little money. But coming here and being with him, still is such a sweet thing, because we gave to our country what we could, everything," said Shortt.
She said despite the hard times, there are many good memories she holds dear.
"And I can remember the first time I saw him in his uniform, how handsome he was. And I went to touch him and he said, 'Don't touch me,' because, you know, they had taught him. Already there was a lot of rules," said Shortt.
91-year-old Johnny Fincher was the oldest veteran at the lunch. He served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. He said he didn't want to be considered a hero, and there was nothing different about him from the rest of the vets there, except his age. But age certainly hasn't blurred his memory.
"I was in the Navy. Now my ship was Navy ship, but the Marines were the soldiers that they used for the invasion of the islands out there in the Pacific, you see," said Fincher.
"Heartlite has a heart for Veterans and we want the community to know that," said Guess.
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