Military veterans of all ages, service honored at Charleston Veterans Day program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Military veterans from all walks of life and all wars were honored Friday in Charleston in a special program.

The 81st annual Veterans Day Program, which followed the Charleston Veterans Day Parade, took place at Haddad Riverfront Park. The event is sponsored by American Legion John Brawley Post 20.

Loretta Dickens of American Legion John Brawley Post 20 was the master of ceremonies. The event included recognition of POW/MIA by Joe Norris of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 37.

Wes Holden of Sissonville and Dewey Chaney of Hurricane are both a part of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 37 in Charleston and seemed appreciative of the day and the thank you.

“We’re just so pleased. It means the world to us. Then again if we forget our veterans then, what is going to happen next time when someone comes to fight and defend their country? Are we going to forget them,” Holden said.

Vietnam veterans Dewey Chaney (left), from Hurricane, and Wes Holden from Sissonville speak to the media following the ceremony. Photo by Jake Flatley

Holden added that citizens should do more than to just thank someone for their service but rather show up on Veterans Day and act on it.

Chaney, the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 37 President, said it’s nice to see Vietnam veterans be honored in current-day ceremonies, noting they were treated differently when they came back from war.

“I am so glad that the tide has turned and everybody is grateful for their veterans. We appreciate, especially young veterans, when people come up,” Chaney said.

Representatives from U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R- W.Va.) offices and Terry Cunningham with Gold Star Mothers gave remarks. Kevin Harry, Special Forces Combat Veteran and Ret. Sergeant Major, West Virginia National Guard was the headline speaker.

John E. Marshall Post 187 ended the ceremony with a Three Volley Rifle Salute and Taps was played.

Veterans Day, originally named Armistice Day, is always on November 11 to remember the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.