11/14/2017 4:28:00 PM Veterans receive gratitude in Jackson
Ohio National Guard Sgt. Brandon Sigman (foreground with back turned) salutes the American flag during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner during the Jackson Veterans Day Program last Saturday morning. (Telegram Photos By Pete Wilson)
Pictured are the individuals who participated in the annual Jackson Veterans Day Program held on Saturday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day. From the left, are: Master of Ceremonies and local veteran Wendell Brunton, First Presbyterian Church of Wellston Pastor John Pelletier, Ron Speakman of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8402, keynote speaker Sgt. Brandon Sigman of the Ohio National Guard and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 45, Jessica Potts of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8402, and Jackson County Veterans Service Office and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 45 Commander Arnold Tripp.
A decent-sized crowd braved chilly temperatures this past Saturday morning, Nov. 11, to attend the annual Jackson County Veterans Day Program at the Jackson County Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Jackson.
The Jackson County Veterans Service Office and local veterans' organizations conducted the program in Jackson with local veterans' leader Wendell Brunton serving as the master of ceremonies and Ohio National Guard Platoon leader Sgt. Brandon Sigman serving as the guest speaker.
Sigman leads the 1191st Engineer Company in Portsmouth and is a heavy equipment operator and team leader for the Second Squad, Second Platoon. He has been in the Ohio National Guard for 9-½ years, is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and has earned a number of service medals and awards during his military career.
In civilian life, Sigman is a fork lift operator at General Mills. He also serves as the senior vice commander at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 45. He lives in Jackson with his wife, Tammy and their children and grandchildren.
"Growing up, I never knew what Veterans Day meant; it was just another holiday on the calendar," Sigman admitted to the spectators. His attitude quickly changed after he joined the Ohio National Guard and experienced wartime service. He expressed that he has a special bond with his National Guard platoon and deeply appreciates his family members who have served in the military and have stood by him during his continuing service. At one point, he asked all veterans present to be recognized and also thanked the spectators for attending.
"Veterans Day is a chance to remember veterans and pay them gratitude," Sigman stated. "It's one small way to honor those who have answered their country's call to duty."
Jackson County Veterans Service Office Arnold Tripp recited a history of Veterans Day and noted it was initially established to honor World War I veterans, but that the name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 so that it recognized all the veterans, including those who had just served in World War II and Korea.
Tripp also introduced the commanders of the Jackson-based veterans organizations: Dave Brown of the Jackson County AMVETS, George Kitchen of the Jefferson Howe Post 81 of the American Legion, Bon Bragg of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Roger Owens of the Jackson VFW Post 8402, and Arnold Tripp of Jackson DAV Chapter 45.
The Jackson High School Band, under the direction of Aaron Rex, playing the national anthem, a medley theme songs from the nation's military branches and Taps to end the ceremony. The DAV Chapter 45 Honor Guard fired a 21-gun salute and Jessica Potts of the VFW Post 8402 Ladies Auxiliary laid a new memorial wreath in the memorial park next to the marker with the names of the county's war dead. Other participants included Wellston First Presbyterian Church Pastor John Pelletier who delivered the Invocation and Benediction and VFW Post 8402 representative Ron Speakman, who led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Brunton closed the program by thanking the JHS Band for its participation and also announced that the DAV Chapter 45 would be serving a free lunch immediately after the program.