Area residents took time Wednesday to remember and celebrate veterans, and service.
Dozens of veterans, many of the part of the Tega Cay Veterans Association, gathered Wednesday morning at the city’s Living Memorial Gardens.
In Fort Mill, residents gathered in Veterans Park for a program that included a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Sugar Creek Elementary School Music Director Jill Fuller and the reading of a poem, “A Common Soldier,” by John Neal, past commander of American Legion Post 43.
Fuller also sang “God Bless America” before a 21-gun salute rifle volley by members of Post 43.
At the Tega Cay program, Todd Puhrmann, Veterans Association commander, who served in operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Iraqi Freedom, spoke. The U.S. Army veteran lost friends while serving as recently as 2006.
“Being a veteran meant something different than being a veteran even five years before that,” Puhrmann said. It became personal.”
In a perfect world there wouldn’t be need for veterans, he said. But in this one, they provide invaluable service.
“Human nature being what it is, there’s always conflict and that sometimes leads to armed conflict,” Puhrmann said. “We add to our ranks as veterans and we are still thankful that there are people willing to serve.”
City veterans literally have service across the world, said Charles Gross, also of the Veterans Association.
“Our combined service spans every decade from the 1940s to the current day, representing over 70 years,” he said.
“We have veteran who have flown aircraft, fueled aircraft, jumped out of aircraft, who have crawled on the ground, waded through jungles, led troops and done a myriad of other duties essential to the military.”