ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Robertsdale seniors honored veterans with a program on Thursday, Nov. 7, presented by American Legion Post 99 of Foley and Alabama Hospice Care at the PZK Hall in Robertsdale.
Colors were presented by the Robertsdale High School Naval Junior ROTC with the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, followed by guest speaker Petty Officer First Class Edward “Theo” Theodoro, Naval science instructor at Robertsdale High School.
Theodoro presented a brief history of Veteran Day.
Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on Nov. 11, that honors all persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
Veterans Day coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, an observance of the anniversary of the end of World War I in which major hostilities were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
In the United States, Armistice Day was officially renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all U.S. military veterans. In the beginning, Veterans Day was set as the third Monday in October, but after some protests and confusion, it was moved back to Nov. 11 by President Gerald R. Ford in 1975.
Memorial Day, which is observed the last Monday in May each year, honors U.S military veterans who died while in military service, while Armed Forces Day, also observed each year in May, honors those currently serving in the U.S. military.
“I think there’s a lot of confusion between Veterans Day and Memorial Day,” Theodoro said. “The best thing, I think, about Veterans Day, is that on that day, you actually get to shake a veteran’s hand and thank him for his service.”
Theodoro served his country for 20 years and now serves as an instructor with the Naval Junior ROTC Program at RHS.
“Aside from being married to my wife, it is the best thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “We have over 200 cadets in our program and my hope for them is not that they will join the military. Our No. 1 goal is graduation. Graduation comes first. Then I want them to do something to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. That’s the goal.
“Veterans Day is a day to honor our heroes. I want these cadets to learn that heroes don’t wear capes, or the uniform of some sports team. They wear the uniform of the United States military.
Following a video presentation in honor of all branches of the military and a flag folding demonstration by the U.S. Armed Forces Color Guard, Colletta Bailey spoke about a display of local veterans of World War II and told stories of local veterans who were instrumental in fighting the war.
Leon McGhee, past commander of American Legion Post 99, also spoke to the group on the theme, “We stand.”
“There are 50 stars on the American Flag to represent all 50 states. The most important one to me is No. 26, the star representing Alabama, but we stand for all the stars in the flag,” he said. “And when we stand, we stand together.”
McGhee, Robert Bunton, adjutant American Legion Post 99 and Sissy Cunningham with Alabama Hospice Care, presented pins to veterans who were present for the ceremony. Chaplin Les Pierce with Alabama Hospice Care presented grace, followed by lunch.
Senior Activities Coordinator Amy Ochello with the George P. Thames Adult Activity Center, said she wished to thank all the volunteers who helped with the program, along with the event’s sponsors, Alabama Hospice Care, Café Acadiana, the City of Robertsdale, Comfort Care Coastal Community Hospice, Kindred Hospice, Southern Care Hospice and Springhill Home Health & Hospice.