Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The Graham County Color Guard stands at attention at the start of the Veterans Day Celebration event at the Graham County Courthouse on Saturday.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – There was a reverent, somewhat somber tone to the Veterans Day presentation outside of the Graham County Courthouse on Saturday as those in attendance joined the speakers in honoring our fellow servicemen and servicewomen who have dutifully worked their country in one of the branches of the military.
Eric Taylor, Post Commander for the American Legion Swift Murphy Trail Post 32, emceed the event that featured West Point graduate and Army veteran Jason Green as the featured speaker, with Graham County District 1 Supervisor Paul David offering both the invocation and benediction.
Taylor recalled stories about Medal of Honor Award recipients and said they were who we should all aspire to be.
“These are the types of heroes America continues to produce – in many ways humble at home and ferociously brave on the battlefield,” Taylor said.
“Not all veterans have seen combat but all have at one time made the solemn promise to sacrifice their lives for this country if called upon.”
Featured speaker Green recalled his experience joining West Point fresh out of graduating from Safford High School and then serving in the Army in Kosovo during hostilities there in 1999, rising from tank platoon leader at 22 years old and then eventually captain as a commander of an area support team.
“That was my experience and everybody’s experience is unique,” Green said. “I don’t tell my story to put light on myself but to highlight that everybody has a different experience. I see a lot of veterans out here that I know, and I appreciate your guys’ service too.”
In addition to the speakers, the event also featured the traditional laying of the wreaths on the base of the carved boulder monuments at the footsteps of the courthouse that commemorates veterans lost in previous wars.
A Veterans Day Parade precluded the event and marched down Main Street from 3rd Avenue to the Graham County Courthouse where the event took place shortly thereafter.
For more pictures check out our Graham County Veterans Day Parade and Program 2023 photo album.