The traditional ceremony marking the beginning of Mesquite Veterans Day celebrations was held on Nov. 7 and hosted by Mayor Al Litman. Also speaking was Congressman Crescent Hardy and Assemblyman Chris Edwards. Chuck Thompson of the Mesquite Elks Lodge offered the invocation.
After the flag raising and singing of the national anthem, Mayor Litman introduced Congressman Hardy.
Hardy told the crowd of about 75 people that “Our veterans are our only first class citizens and Veteran’s Day is a time of honor and sacrifice.” Hardy emotionally spoke of not only the sacrifice of veterans, but also of “the spouse worrying about their husband or the wife who may never come home, the children who can’t sleep at night wondering if their father or mother will ever tuck them in again.”
Mayor Litman then introduced Assemblyman Chris Edwards, who completed 28 years of Navy service this year.
Edwards recounted the establishment of Veterans Day as a national holiday, and urged veterans to recount their service and tell others so that their history won’t be lost. “During my campaign I met a lady named Bonnie who worked in the Eagles Lair with Eisenhower, Patton, Montgomery and with every major player in World War II. She had phenomenal stories of what she saw.” Edwards asked her to write them down but she never did.
“I hope you will take your stories and let people know what you did,” said Edwards.
Mayor Litman closed the ceremony, “We are here to honor our heroes, remember their courage, their dedication and to say thank you for their sacrifice.” Litman then asked all the veterans present to stand and be recognized, and then the families of service members to also stand.
The Mayor also called to attention the problems facing veterans today. “Our Veterans Administration, while trying, continues to fail our veterans. Veteran suicide is out of control with an average reported of 22 veteran suicides a day, nearly double the general population.” Litman continued, “Our cities are overwhelmed with homeless veterans, our prisons are packed with many of these veterans suffering from metal illness brought by the horrors of war,”
“We must not forget them. We must insist our leaders in Washington make our veterans care top priority, not just talk and no action. They must be held accountable,” Litman concluded.
The Honor Guard then fired a salute and Carolyn Whaley, a veteran from Las Vegas played taps.