Veterans' Day ceremonies honor past, present soldiers

by Stan Morris e-mail | Twitter

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Veterans' Day parades honor soldiers and their sacrifice from years passed. There was no exception to that Saturday in Jonesboro.

But there was additional recognition given. The 1037th Route Clearance Company, formerly and often still referenced as the 875th Engineering Battalion, was given a hero's send-off by the throngs of people in attendance.

"[It's] truly heartwarming to see this kind of turnout to honor all of our veterans," said Major General Bill Wofford, the soldier in charge of the Arkansas Army National Guard. General Wofford also expressed appreciation "especially to see the send off of the 1037th Route Clearance Company."

The parade, which ran through downtown Jonesboro beginning around 10 a.m. with motorcyclists ended with the 1037th bringing up the rear. Instead of completing their march with the rest of the pack, the group halted in front of the courthouse for a very special ceremony.
The sidewalks emptied into the streets once the ceremony began, with families, loved ones and friends spilling into the streets to express their support, love and affection for the brave men and women who make up the 1037th.

"There's never been so much anticipation and excitement about our ceremony today," said retired Colonel Jerry Bowen, who is the President of the Craighead County Veterans' Memorial Foundation. Colonel Bowen, who served three tours in war zones, said he thinks its most important for soldiers and their families to stay in contact today.

Colonel Bowen said its easier to do today than it was in his service days, thanks to technology.

Judging by the affection shown between families, they will probably not disagree with the retired Colonel.

©2009 KAIT All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.