Area veterans share bond of service

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 12, 2009

NATCHEZ — Though years apart in age, veterans from the World War II generation to recent veterans of the Iraq war all share a bond of service, sacrifice and selflessness.

It is a bond that wasn’t verbal, but rather communicated with a nod, a handshake or a pat on the back during Wednesday’s Salute to Veterans at the Natchez Campus of Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

For World War II veteran Robert Mims Sr. of Natchez attending the annual Veterans Day celebration is a yearly event because it gives him the chance to honor other veterans who also “answered the call for service.”

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Mims served in the U.S. Air Corp during World War II and was a prisoner of war.

“There aren’t many left from my generation,” Mims said. “But you see these youngsters who are continuing to serve, that’s our future.”

Mims said it is important to remember daily, not just on Veterans Day, the work veterans do both domestically and overseas, because it is never known when military service is going to be needed.

“There is always going to be somebody that wants to take our freedoms away, there always has been” Mims said. “This is a time to stop and think about what our veterans fought for and what our current men and women are fighting for.”

Keeping that thought in the forefront is what Capt. Meckard Carter from the Mississippi Army National Guard encouraged the audience to do even after Veterans Day has ended. He said every freedom enjoyed in America is because someone was willing to risk his or her life to protect it.

“Freedom is not free,” Carter said. “Someone had to pay the price for us to be able to sit here today and recognize our veterans.

“If it weren’t for these guys out here it might not say ‘U.S. Army’ on my uniform.”

Carter said standing in front of veterans from past wars was a humbling experience because of the gratitude he has for others who served in the various branches of the military.

“The people wearing (the uniforms) are a brotherhood,” he said. “It isn’t a brotherhood that was just given, it was earned.

“There has been someone protecting our country 24 hours a day, 365 days a year since the beginning.”

For Vietnam veteran Eddie Seyfarth ceremonies honoring veterans bring one word to mind, pride.

Seyfarth served 16 and a half years in the United States Marine Corps before being medically discharged because of injuries received during his military service.

“Pride is a good word,” he said. “These men and women, they are good people who decided to do everything they could for the United States.”

Carter said it is that pride that he feels every time he puts on his uniform.

“There is no better person to say ‘thank you’ to a veteran than a soldier,” he said. “Because as soldiers we understand what they did and why they did it. Veterans took an oath to serve and protect the constitution, and they did it against everybody and at every time of the year.”