Dozens of people showed up to honor the veterans of wars past and present for the Veterans Day celebration at the Aiken County Veterans Memorial Park.
Members of the James L. Hammons Marine Corps League Detachment 939 stood in front of the memorial wall as a crowd filled with veterans, family members and passers-by stood to honor those who have served.
Barb and Roger Rollins played patriotic music like “God Bless America” and S.C. House District 86 Rep. Bill Taylor and Senator-elect Tom Young were on hand to deliver speeches to those in attendance.
“It's important to thank our veterans, both them and their families, for their service and sacrifice,” Young said after the ceremony.
Taylor also thanked the troops during a pointed speech that touched on everything from the history of Veterans Day to patriotism, or the lack thereof.
“Today, there are those tearing down the fiber of what you and I, and our parents and grandparents, held true; the value of “One Nation Under God,” pride in our flag, the “Pledge of Allegiance,” the “National Anthem,” protecting our national borders, honesty, truth, justice and integrity,” Taylor said in his speech. “Today, for many those are just words without much meaning. The America you fought for is changing. It happens so gradually, it is hardly recognized for what it is – an invasion and destruction of our national sovereignty. For those who wish to subvert the United States and take-away all the values Americans hold dear. They may even succeed in eliminating Veterans Day.”
His speech drew a standing round of applause and adulation from the crowd following the ceremony, as well.
He ended by saying, “Now is the time – each of us must speak out in defense of our beloved America. God bless you for your service to our country and God bless America.”