UNION COUNTY • U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., spoke during a Veterans Day ceremony at West Union Attendance Center on Monday.
Wicker, who is an Air Force veteran, heard children sing patriotic songs and said, “I’m so impressed.”
“I want to take this patriotism from Union County and bottle it up and take it to Washington, D.C.,” Wicker said.
Dozens of veterans also attended the Veterans Day ceremony at the school. As the veterans entered the gym, the song “I’m Proud to be an American” played as students waved flags.
The students also sang songs to the veterans with lyrics such as “You are our heroes.”
A senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Wicker said it was great to be at West Union with the veterans.
“We’re here to celebrate America and talk about patriotism,” Wicker said.
Wicker, who grew up in Pontotoc, said, “I just feel like I’m right back home.”
He said he feels strongly about keeping Veterans Day on Nov. 11 each year, noting that it marks the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918.
Wicker also spoke about the National Anthem, saying it is a reminder that “our freedom was bought in warfare,” he said.
“People had to show up and fight for our country and fight for our freedom,” he said.
Without veterans “we wouldn’t have a country; we wouldn’t be saluting this flag today,” Wicker said.
He noted that last week there was an election in Mississippi and said veterans deserve thanks for protecting citizens’ rights to vote.
“If you are thankful that we have a right to vote . . . then thank one of these veterans for that right,” he said.
Wicker pointed out other rights that U.S. citizens have because of veterans, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
He also thanked veteran groups, saying they help make good bipartisan policy. While there is a lot of disagreement in Washington, D.C., there have also been 57 veteran-related bills signed into law in the past two and a half years, he said.
West Union Attendance Center principal Russell Taylor said he was “humbled” by the veterans in attendance.
“There’s nothing that we can say to you to repay you for the debt that we owe you,” Taylor said.
The veterans are the true embodiment of “heroism,” Taylor said, adding, “We sincerely can’t say anything but thank you.”