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Veterans ceremony celebrates 'common people who did uncommon things'

Nov 11 2019
Lauren Owens |SC NOW

FLORENCE, S.C. — Hundreds of people gathered Monday at Florence Veterans Park for the 11th annual Florence Veterans Day Ceremony.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey “Jeff” Jones, who serves as the deputy adjutant general for the South Carolina Military Department, served as the speaker this year.

Jones is a Pee Dee native and a 1987 graduate of the Citadel. He is also a veteran of multiple deployments, including Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

When Jones arrived Saturday in Florence, he said he came to Florence Veterans Park as the sun was setting. Jones described his experience in the park as serene.

“Just a sense of humility and peace overcame me, and I walked away with thoughts of patriotism, of honor, of respect, of love, appreciation and unity, and I’m sure that was the intent of the community when they established this,” Jones said.

Jones remembered the efforts of several Pee Dee area veterans who have served the United States, including Bishopville native Cpl. James D. Heriot, who was posthumously recognized with a Medal of Honor for his service in World War I.

“Think about it: all these veterans, these family members,” Jones said. “They were raised in the Pee Dee, they walked the streets of the Pee Dee and they call the Pee Dee home. That’s what a hero is: common people who did uncommon things.”

Jones said it is because of veterans that Americans have the freedoms they have, quoting the words of Charles M. Province.

“Make no mistake, veterans,” Jones said. “Because of your service, because of your sacrifice, we are who we are today.”

During the ceremony, the Gold Star Families Monument was unveiled, and new names were added to the Wall of Honor at the Florence Veterans Park.

This year 56 names of veterans with Pee Dee connections were added to the Wall of Honor, bringing the total of 776 honorees.