The Chamber of Commerce and American Legion will be hosting the Pontotoc Annual Veteran’s Day celebration this year on Friday, 8 November 2019 at the new Gateway Pavilion, across from the Tanglefoot Trail.

Prior to the ceremony the Pontotoc High School Beta Club and Student Council will host a free breakfast for Veterans at the Pontotoc Community House at 9:00.

Following breakfast Veterans are asked to assemble outside of the Community House to participate in the parade which will begin at 10:30. The parade route will be down Main Street around the court square and to the Gateway Pavilion where the Veteran’s Day Ceremony will begin at 11:00. Immediately following the ceremony you are cordially invited to free stew at the American Legion on Legion Lane behind Wendy’s and True Value Hardware.

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918.

In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I Veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the Veterans service organizations -- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor American Veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October.

Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on November 11.

The Veterans Administration theme for the 2019 Veterans Day is “Service.” Veterans contribute to American society in many ways; not just during their time in active duty. Throughout our history, military service members have put on their uniforms to protect the values and liberties that this nation was built on.

But that doesn’t stop once the uniform comes off and their time in active duty has ended. Veterans take the lessons they have learned and the experiences they’ve gained and continue their service to our nation by strengthening our communities.

They become our leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers and role models. Veterans are the most active volunteers working to improve communities across our country. Service goes beyond the uniform. This Veteran’s Day, we honor the men and women who have worn their uniform who continue to serve our country.

Our guest speaker this year at the ceremony is a great representative and example of “Service.” Lieutenant Colonel Derek Holland is currently serving as the Facility Commander/ Supervisory Aircraft Pilot with the MS Army National Guard - Army Aviation Support Facility in Tupelo.

LTC Holland also serves as the Executive Officer for the 185th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade headquartered in Jackson. He is a 1993 graduate of Pontotoc High School and attended Mississippi State University where he studied natural resources management, earning both a Bachelor and Master of Science Degree.

He was commissioned as an officer through the ROTC program in 1998. During his career in Army Aviation, LTC Holland has served a variety of unit assignments. He is rated as a Master Army Aviator and holds multiple helicopter qualifications including ratings as an instructor pilot and instrument flight examiner.

He served overseas with the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009-2010 and in 2018 he served in Operation Inherent Resolve where he served with Special Operations Detachment - South headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi.

He is also a member of the American Legion, Pontotoc Civitan Club, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He resides in Pontotoc, attends Immanuel Baptist Church and has four children. Thank you sir for your commitment and service!

We honor our Veterans and families in Pontotoc and look forward to seeing you at the Veteran’s Day activities on the 8th of November 2019. For more information please call the Chamber of Commerce or the County Veteran Service Office at 489-5042 or 489-3907.

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