Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

VETERANS DAY; ST. SIMONS BOWS OUT, BUT KINGSLAND PARADES IN RAIN Attendance Was Down, but Many Still Come out to Show Support

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

VETERANS DAY; ST. SIMONS BOWS OUT, BUT KINGSLAND PARADES IN RAIN Attendance Was Down, but Many Still Come out to Show Support

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON JACKSON

KINGSLAND - Rain washed out St. Simons Island's Veterans Day parade and put a damper on one in Kingsland on Wednesday.

It was not a day to put the top down, but Mayor Kenneth Smith nonetheless rode in an open convertible as wipers cleared a light mist from its windshield. Behind it, groups of veterans tromped on foot, a short convoy of vehicles from Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base eased along U.S. 17 and flag-waving Scouts marched.

Scattered groups of spectators stood on both sides of U.S. 17, many waving flags and cheering from beneath umbrellas.

"It is very important for Americans to give honor and thanks to those who are keeping us free," said Jo Frances Connelly, a county resident who stood along the route. "I'm glad the kids were able to participate. They will understand the importance of veterans."

As the light rain became heavier, veterans completed the half-mile route and rushed to their vehicles bound for an informal gathering in St. Marys.

John Crouse, a retired Navy chief and manager of the St. Marys Submarine Museum, blamed rain for the low turnout. He also speculated that many active-duty and retired veterans in the community planned to attend other Veterans Day activities.

"It's hard to say what's going on here," he said.

Rob Morgan, post commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post at Kings Bay, said there is an abundance of local support for the military in Camden County, but he'd like to see more people at Veterans Day activities.

"It's the one day set aside each year for us to honor our veterans, the ones who served in the past and the ones who serve today," he said. "None of us served with the intention of being thanked for our service. I'm thankful for the people who did show up today."

State Veterans of Foreign Wars commander David Pipes was the keynote speaker at a luncheon in St. Marys to honor veterans.

"History has provided us with extraordinary examples of their selfless deeds," he said. "The good works they performed are a human accomplishment of rare wonder. Countless millions throughout the world have forever been the beneficiaries of their sacrifice, kindness and generosity. …

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