Everyone who served in the military should be proud of their contributions, S.C. Rep. Bill Clyburn, D-Aiken, told his audience during a Veterans Day ceremony at American Legion Post 212 in Aiken on Saturday.

“Regardless of what you did, regardless of what your jobs were, it took a team,” Clyburn said. “Whether you had to keep the grass cut, whether you had to keep the food coming, whether you had to keep the guns fired up, whether you were on the front line, it took a team effort.”

Clyburn also expressed his gratitude to Post 212’s members for their efforts.

“We do appreciate what you have done,” he said. “I saw a sign earlier that said, ‘There were some who gave some, and there were some who gave all.’ We certainly want to recognize those who were left behind, who did not come back. But we also want to thank you, those of you who came back to tell us the horror stories that made us understand (what happened).

“Some who came back are still suffering from some of the injuries they have received psychologically and physically,” Clyburn added, “but you are back and we are glad to have you. We have come together today to honor all of you.”

In addition, Clyburn mentioned famous African-Americans who served in the military such as the Tuskegee Airmen and Guion Bluford, who became an astronaut and was the first African American launched into space.

“We want all veterans – regardless of their race, color or creed – to know that this post and those who served that are here will always have their backs,” Clyburn said.

The speakers on the program also included Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon who talked about the Hometown Heroes banners, which are hanging in downtown Aiken for the first time. They feature photos of veterans and active duty service members.

“We are known as a city of character, and we have character banners that hang,” Osbon said. “But if you notice lately, some of those banners are down because we’re not just showing words of character, but we’re also showing people of character.”

The Aiken County Veterans Council is spearheading the Hometown Heroes project, which was launched earlier this year. The banners will be displayed twice annually in conjunction with Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

“We want to see this program expanded,” Osbon said. “There are a lot more poles and a lot more spaces to show our pride for our veterans.”

The American Legion is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this year and so is the American Legion Auxiliary.

Osbon presented a proclamation that designated Saturday as American Legion Auxiliary Unit 212 Day. The unit also received a proclamation from Aiken County Council.

Brenda Holland of Unit 212 accepted the proclamations. She is a past president of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of South Carolina.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.