The annual Veterans Day observance at Liberty High School came a day early this year with students and veterans gathering Thursday in the high school gym. After being provided breakfast, local veterans were recognized at an event that included performances from the high school choir and band.
Earl Randolph, the oldest veteran in attendance, is one of the last remaining World War II veterans in Liberty County. Randolph, now 99, will celebrate his 100th birthday in less than a month. A native of Hardin who now lives in Dayton, Randolph served in the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He was assigned to the Asiatic Pacific Campaign from 1943 to 1946 aboard the USS Mintaka. Randolph witnessed firsthand the battles at Peleliu Island and Okinawa, Japan.
“This man continues to serve his country and community. He still goes around and checks on all the old people,” said Liberty High School Choir Director Christie Bean, drawing chuckles from the audience.
The guest speaker for the Veterans Day event was Coast Guard MSTC Wesley Savage, assigned to the Marine Safety Unit in Port Arthur. Savage said it was a humbling experience for him to speak to the veterans because their service to the nation came with great sacrifices.
“You all laid the ground work for me and others, and I will never forget that. It’s important that we recognize you, not just on this day, but every day for the service you provided and continue to provide this great nation,” he said.
Will Carter, regional director for community relations for U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36), shared a message from Babin, who is in Washington, D.C., attending to government affairs.
“To all our veterans, thank you for your service. To our Marine Corps veterans, happy 247th birthday today,” Carter said.
The tribute to the veterans was at times emotionally stirring as veterans from the different military branches stood to be recognized as the band performed the United States Armed Forces Medley.
Veterans Day is Friday, Nov. 11. In addition to saying, “thank you for your service” to veterans you encounter, here are five other ways you can show your appreciation for their service:
- Donate to veteran-focused charities and organizations that help wounded warriors facing financial difficulties or a mental health or medical crisis, or reach out to a veteran in need that you know and see how you can help;
- If you work in a management position for a business or own a business, consider hiring a veteran or their spouse;
- Visit and volunteer at a VA hospital;
- Use veteran-owned businesses whenever possible; and last, but not least,
- Respect the sacrifice of veterans by flying the American flag correctly and standing for the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.