As those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces stood to be recognized at the city of Palm Coast’s annual Veterans Day ceremony, they were met with enthusiastic applause. Among them was Corp. Hal Mettee (U.S. Army Air Corps) who came ashore with the Marines at Iwo Jima.
“On Feb. 23, 1945, (Mettee) witnessed the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima — that moment that is frozen in time at the Marine Corps Memorial in Washington, D.C,” said Edward Beier, of the American Legion Post 115, as one of the ceremony’s guest speakers. “That moment is frozen in his memory forever.”
The Veterans Day ceremony was held on Monday, Nov. 12, at Heroes Memorial Park. The Matanzas High School JROTC presented the colors, followed by songs performed by the Community Chorus of Palm Coast. Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland served as the master of ceremonies.
“As we set aside today to honor our veterans, let’s be mindful that we should show our appreciation every day of the year, and not just one day,” Holland said.
She went on to speak up for a post-war problem that is often overlooked: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“While in active war zones, veterans sometimes had to watch as their fellow soldiers were injured or killed,” she said. “Being in that damaging environment leaves physical and mental wounds on a solider. Mental scars are harder to see, but they often last the longest. Veterans that returned home wrestle every day with PTSD and struggle to adjust into civilian life. … We need to say extra prayers for that healing process.”
Florida Representative Paul Renner, a U.S. Navy veteran, urged those in attendance to not only thank veterans, but to thank their families who have all dealt with worry and hardship while their loved ones served their country.
“Today is a day to celebrate — to celebrate everything the veterans have given us: freedom of religion, the American dream, freedom of speech,” Beier said.
In his speech, Beier remembered a veteran and member of the American Legion Post 115 who died at age 99 on July 19, 2018, U.S. Army veteran Michael “Mickey” Owens.
“At an early age, his parents taught him that freedom is not free; it is bought and paid for by sacrifice of its people,” Beier recalled of Owens. “He learned that we are all immigrants in this county. That’s who we are; that’s what makes us great.”