A large crowd gathered at the ‘One Thousand Flags over Mesquite’ display Tuesday in celebration of Veterans Day. From beginning to end the program hosted by the local Exchange Club of Mesquite moved the crowd openly. U.S.A.F. Veteran and Exchange Club member Paul Benedict, acting as Master of Ceremonies, introduced Veteran and Mesquite Mayor Al Litman who welcomed the throng to the event. Pastor Dennis Lee of Living Waters Fellowship gave the Invocation followed by the Presentation of Colors by the Mesquite Veterans Honor Guard. Benedict then introduced Barbara Ellestad, U.S.A.F. Retired, who led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Local resident Brian Wursten gave a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem before awards were presented.
Benedict called Veterans Center President Ken Maynard to the dais and presented a $2000 check to the center on behalf of the Exchange Club. Mayor Litman introduced Army Veteran Pete Blair who recently was named Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshall. Litman explained since the parade for 2014 was rained out, Blair will be the Grand Marshall for 2015 rain or shine.
Benedict read a letter entitled “What a Veteran Knows” before introducing the Sun City Sounds who got the audience involved with patriotic songs. Bagpiper Dennis Hangey ended the nights celebration also with patriotic renditions as he movingly disappeared into the ‘One Thousand Flags’ display.
“Our biggest danger we face (as a country) is to forget we have been to war,” said new Mesquite resident Jim Heilman. Heilman, a Marine Corp Viet Nam Veteran, attended the celebration with wife Sherry. His final comment, as the program ended, “we will be here on Sunday when the colors are retired.”