Barbara Ellestad gave the opening speech for the 1000 Flags over Mesquite Veteran’s Day Ceremony.  The 2016 1000 Flags ceremony was dedicated to women veterans.  Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Barbara Ellestad gave the opening speech for the 1000 Flags over Mesquite Veteran’s Day Ceremony. The 2016 1000 Flags ceremony was dedicated to women veterans. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Women have been in combat for the United States since the Revolutionary War albeit, one of the first, Deborah Samson Gannett, from Plymouth, MA, enlisted under her deceased brother’s name in 1782.  She served in the Continental Army as her brother, Robert Shurtleff Samson, for 17 months; she was wounded twice.

When women were finally given their place in the armed forces they served in auxiliary roles but today women see battle right alongside men. They serve our country proudly and the Mesquite Exchange Club in their 2016 1000 Flags over Mesquite Veteran’s Day Ceremony honored them all.

Retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Barbara Ellestad gave the opening speech for the 1000 Flags over Mesquite Veteran’s Day Ceremony.  She began by expressing many of the things people can do to the American Flag from defacing it to “clutching it to your heart when given to you as a memento of a fallen loved one. But the one thing you can never do is destroy the very symbol that binds an entire nation together and forever gives us hope of freedom, of unity, of one nation, of one peace.”

Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Janet McDonald took time out of a very busy schedule to sing the national anthem. Afterward McDonald high-tailed it to the Mesquite Community Theatre for another performance where her group opened a new show.

The guest speaker of the evening was Retired Army Colonel Ann Barfield who gave a wonderful speech. Unfortunately Air Force Veteran Sandi Sorenson and the oldest women veteran in Mesquite Anna Murphy were unable to attend for health and other reasons.

Dennis Hangey completed the ceremony with patriotic selections on the bagpipes. The 1000 Flags over Mesquite wave on in honor of American Veterans both men and women who are and for those who are no longer with us.

A slide-show of the evenings ceremony can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/ONA5q2BdLUU