BY O.J. EARLY
Residents of Greeneville and Greene County will have the opportunity Sunday and Monday to publicly express appreciation to the community's veterans.
The county's annual Veterans Day service, coordinated by Andrew Johnson Post No. 1990, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, begins at 11 a.m. Monday on the steps of the Greene County Courthouse.
The service is being held on Monday, Nov. 12, since the official Veterans Day -- Nov. 11 -- falls on a Sunday.
In addition to the courthouse service, the local VFW Ladies Auxiliary is asking citizens to leave a porch light on all day and night Sunday.
A tradition that began during Worl d War II, leaving a porch light on from dusk until dawn on Veterans Day is one way to show respect for those who served honorably in the military.
Veterans are also extended an invitation to enjoy complimentary coffee and doughnuts from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday at the General Morgan Inn, courtesy of the VFW and the Inn.
The VFW Ladies Auxiliary will host a dinner for all Gold Star Mothers -- those who have lost a son or a daughter in military service -- at the General Morgan Inn immediately following the Veterans Day program on Monday.
The program at the courthouse on Monday will feature state Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, as the keynote speaker. County Mayor Alan Broyles will introduce Rep. Hawk.
Retired 1st Sgt Gary Beason will welcome those in attendance and lead in the pledge to the American Flag, and Chaplain Ed Pryor will lead in prayer.
"The public is always invited to the courthouse service," said Mary Sue Everhart, president of the local VFW Ladies Auxiliary.
Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day in honor of the fact that the fighting in World War I ended at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
The Veterans Day observance is designed to express thanks to all living men and women who have served in any branch of the military, during times of either war or peace.