Veterans honored at ceremony

Published 3:45 pm Monday, November 12, 2012

Aubry Wallace and Jim Dunlap present the colors during Monday's Chilton County Veterans Day celebration.

Those who attended the annual Chilton County Veterans Day celebration Monday were reminded that freedom comes with a cost.

“There’s been a lot of bloodshed to get to where we are today,” said Jerry Grooms, the master of ceremonies and also post commander at American Legion Post 6 in Clanton.

James Alton Henley was the guest speaker during Monday's event.

Post 6 was joined by American Legion posts 206 and 343, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 33 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3193 in sponsoring the event at the Chilton County Courthouse.

After Grooms’ welcome, a moment of silence was observed for soldiers taken as prisoners of war and for those missing in action.

James Flowers of Post 206 gave the invocation before Aubry Wallace and Jim Dunlap presented the colors.

Jim Gore of VFW Post 3193 led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, and then Jill Cox sang the National Anthem.

Another patriotic tune, “God Bless America,” was presented by Margaret Kemp Collins, and then Lally Bates of Post 6 introduced the speaker, James Alton Henley, a Chilton County High School graduate and current chaplain to the U.S. military at the Atlanta airport.

Henley mentioned each of the wars from which veterans would still be living, reading off the years of the conflicts and then the number killed and wounded in each.

“We haven’t had too many years where there wasn’t a war brewing,” he said about America’s recent history.

Henley then talked about his current position, where he ministers to soldiers returning home from serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Henley said he and his fellow volunteer chaplains have spoken to more than 25,000 soldiers since 2005. He said 8,000 servicemen and women accepted Christ last month alone.

“The Bible says we’re to go plant seeds,” Henley said. “I know many of them were saved; I could tell by the tears streaming down their face.

“I just thank God for that ministry.”