County honors servicemen and women on Veterans Day
Patriotic songs by instrument and voice filled the high school's gymnasium Friday morning, as the sounds mingled with the drill commands of the school's ROTC unit.
The gymnasium filled up on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, as local veterans, schoolchildren and community members turned out to pay homage to Morgan County's servicemen and women.
Following the presentation of flags, Pledge of Allegiance and playing of our National Anthem, and recognition of government leaders present, Major Curt Gilbert, MD, a U.S. Army doctor and the son of Madison Mayor Bruce and Judy Gilbert, addressed the crowd. He spoke of his training – from the University of Georgia to medical school at Mercer to a residency in San Antonio – and his eight-month deployment to Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan. He spoke of leaving his family and arriving in the desert.
"Within the first few days, I got to learn what wartime medicine is all about," Gilbert said. "Essentially, wartime medicine is waiting. You wait until you hear Black Hawk helicopters coming over the horizon."
Gilbert said there were no egos among his fellow doctors.
"We all had one mission: to take care of soldiers," he said. "We all took it personally when we lost a soldier."
Gilbert also credited the Madison-Morgan County community with aiding in his group's humanitarian efforts while in Afghanistan. He was trying to gather blankets, sweaters and jackets for young Afghani children.
"Two weeks after I told my mom and dad, hundreds of boxes arrived," Gilbert said. "This community never fails to come through."
Following Gilbert's address, "Taps" was played and a wreath was placed, the chorus sang "God Bless America," and the Morgan County High School Band played each military branch's song.
Servicemen and women present, most decked out in their Armed Forces gear, stood when their branch's song was played and were recognized by the audience with applause.
Printed in the November 17, 2011 edition