Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Simons Honors Veterans; Families Wave Flags, Dogs Dressed in Red-White-and-Blue for the Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Simons Honors Veterans; Families Wave Flags, Dogs Dressed in Red-White-and-Blue for the Day

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

American flags dominated the sidewalks of the St. Simons Island's pier village Friday as the community turned out to thank its veterans on Veterans Day.

A couple of Trump banners flew inexplicably, but the veterans were at the center of attention as a politically historic week drew to a close.

As usual, people decked their dogs out in red-white-and-blue and children and adults waved flags as veterans of wars from World War II to the seemingly endless war on terrorism paraded past.

At a street corner, children from St. Simons Christian School handed hand-colored flags to those in the parade. The parade ended at Neptune Park where a Veterans Day ceremony was held at the traditional 11 a.m. to coincide with the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.

State Rep. Jeff Jones thanked the children and their teachers from making the day more than just a day off from school.

He read a message from a student that said, "Thank you for risking your lives to save me and everyone who lives in our country." The card also called veterans brave, courageous and strong and end with, "I am 10 years old. I am a boy."

As he presented the Veteran of the Year Award on behalf of the Veterans Council of the Golden Isles, retired Marine Col. Nick Hart said, "It's an honor, a privilege and [with] a touch of sadness..."

Hart presented the award posthumously to retired U.S. Marine Master Sgt. Robert D. Caulkins, who died in May after he was voted this year's recipient. Caulkins received Purple Hearts after being wounded by shrapnel in Korea and again when his helicopter was shot down in Vietnam.

Caulkins had gone to Vietnam as a combat correspondent with the 1st Marine Division, but volunteered to be a helicopter door gunner. It was shot down on his 18th mission, and he retired from the Marines in 1972. …

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