A capacity crowd of citizens, veterans and their families from all over Natchitoches Parish gathered at the Natchitoches Parish Veterans and Memorial Park Nov. 11 for the annual Veterans’ Day Service. The focus of this year’s observance was women veterans.
Master of Ceremonies, Truman Maynard, opened the ceremony. The Rev. Lindy Broderick delivered the opening prayer followed by the Lakeview High School Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard posting the colors. James Gay, a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, led the Pledge of Allegiance as he has done for every program since the park opened. Instead of the usual rendition of the National Anthem, Leta Townsend Brown led the crowd in singing it together.
Retired Army Master Sergeant and Ranger Scott Stetson introduced the day’s speaker Lt. Col. Heather Owens, Chief of Anesthesia Services at the Ft. Polk Hospital. She spoke of the women veterans who paved the way for today’s military in which women do every kind of job that men do. Lt. Col. Owens is from Minnesota and is a 1999 ROTC graduate. She has deployed several times and has earned airborne wings from Poland and Germany in addition to her US Army Airborne wings. After Lt. Col. Owens’ talk, Natchitoches Mayor Lee Posey presented her with several souvenirs from the city. The women veterans were then recognized for their service by Donna Masson and Valerie Minchew.
The audience was then updated on the latest updates to the Memorial Park while Dr, Colleen Lancaster of the Daughters of the American Revolution spoke about the DAR Patriotic Tree in the City Bank lobby. The Rev. Clair Carter of First United Methodist Church gave the closing prayer.
The Natchitoches Parish Journal is donating the day’s photography. Copy protection is turned off and anyone may download any they wish.