Acadia Parish honors heroes
ACADIA PARISH - Across Acadia Parish, city/parish leaders, citizens and the men and women who served in our armed services gave their heartfelt opinions on the observance of Veterans Day.
The nationwide observation, which was formerly called Armistice Day after World War I, is a day for citizens of the United States to honor those who have served — past and present — in the U.S. military.
“I am so thankful to all who have served and sacrificed for our country,” said Pam Swinger Kirsch of Roberts Cove. “In my family, I’ve been blessed with a rich military tradition. My grandfather served in the Navy in World War II, my grandmother was a war nurse on the home front, my dad was a Green Beret in the Army, my stepfather served in the Navy and my father in law served in the Navy during the Korean War.
“I couldn’t be more proud.”
“I think today is not only about thanking the veterans we know but also expressing thanks to the total strangers who put their lives on the line to help and protect America,” said Wendy Begnaud of Lafayette. “This is what makes me proud to live in the country that I call my own.”
Chris Swearingen, a veteran of the U.S. Army, said that when he was younger, he truly didn’t understand the honor and tradition of the Army when he signed up.
“When I was younger I was asked by many people why I joined the military,” he said. “It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that I had never given a completely honest answer. The answer I used to give was that I didn’t want to go to college right out of high school or that I didn’t want to live off my parents anymore.
“While both of those may have been true at the time, the reason I enlisted evolved over time. I joined out of a sense of a higher purpose than myself and I wanted to be there for my country if it needed me ... because I use the benefits of living in this country in whatever way I need to and I wanted to give back.
“Honestly, to me, it doesn’t seem to be a popular sentiment to be patriotic these days and, quite frankly, its more than a little bit sad. I guess for me it goes back to JFK: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for country’.”
Crowley Mayor Greg Jones was humble in expressing his appreciation.
“When we look around at all the freedoms that we enjoy — and in some cases take for granted — we need remember their hard work and sacrifice,” he said. “And we should always remember to thank them.”
Crowley Chief of Police K.P. Gibson expressed his support for the older veterans of the U.S. military, many of whom he feels don’t get the credit they deserve.
“We as Americans couldn’t have the freedoms we enjoy if it weren’t for the people that served and, in many cases died, defending them,” said Gibson. “It seems as though, as time passes, that people don’t properly recognize the older veterans, such as the men I see at American Legion meetings, who fought and died in defense of our freedom in countries around the world.
I’ve always been so proud of my father’s service in Korea. These days, however, it seems as though people only pay attention to what’s going on in our country today, and that is important, but they need to honor and remember the men who got us here.”