On Nov. 4, the Catoosa Citizens' and Veterans' Memorial board of directors and volunteers, as well as many folks from the community, gathered at The Colonnade in Ringgold to honor veterans, individuals and groups who have contributed to making their communities and their country better and safer places.
The annual event, sponsored by the Catoosa Memorial, has been taking place for many years now. "It's amazing that two counties can come together and honor their veterans and citizens this way," says Yvonne Morgan, president of the Memorial's board of directors. "We're fortunate to live in an area where we can do something like this."
The group awarded eight plaques during a ceremony in which many political luminaries participated. Local businesses and groups contributed everything from cookies to flags to the plaques that were given to honorees.
The Catoosa Citizens' and Veterans' Memorial, located at the Benton Place Campus in Ringgold, is intended as a tribute to America and a sacred place where people can "find patriotism while reflecting on its Unified Salute to America," says Morgan.
Citizens and businesses wishing to support the Memorial can purchase a brick for $40 and it will be inscribed with the name of someone they wish to honor. "Red bricks are for citizens and gray bricks for veterans," says Morgan. Forms for purchasing a brick are available from the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, located in the Colonnade.
Jack Staples, Lt. Col., US Army (retired): Walker County Veteran of the Year, presented by Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield
Flora Kernea, Gold Star Mother: Walker County Patriotic Citizen of the Year, presented by Walker County commissioner Shannon Whitfield
Chickamauga Growth Community: Walker County Patriotic Community Service, presented by Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield Catoosa County
Bill Rhinehart: Catoosa County Veteran of the Year, presented by Catoosa County Commission Chair, Steven Henry
Jeff Hullender: Catoosa County Patriotic Citizen of the Year, presented by Yvonne Morgan
Jeff Long: Catoosa County Outstanding Community Service, presented by Susan Tankersley, co-chair of the event, to Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Earl Gray, accepting on behalf of the honoree
Heritage Middle School Eighth Graders: Youth Patriotism & Spirit Award, presented by Yvonne Morgan to Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk, accepting on behalf of the honorees
Ringgold Flag Committee: Patriotic Community Service, presented by Yvonne Morgan
Special Recognition was given to Senator Jeff Mullis, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 203, American Legion Post 214, American Legion Post 40, VFW Post 3679, Rolling Thunder TN Chapter 2, and the Ringgold Flag Committee.
Action is pending for LaFayette's elected officials to proclaim the city a Purple Heart City at an upcoming city council meeting.
As a part of this endeavor, a campaign is underway to fund a Purple Heart Monument that will be produced and placed at an appropriate city-owned propert.
The Purple Heart was created by Gen. George Washington during the American Revolution and was originally awarded for military merit but faded from the scene following that war.
The award was reestablished during the 1930s for service members who were wounded in action and to those who lost their lives in battle.
Many LaFayette youth – living and deceased — have been awarded the medal. As an example, 31 young men who died during the Vietnam conflict are commemorated on a plaque at Simmons Park in West LaFayette.
The proposed monument would be a token of appreciation and respect for the sacrifices of service members in past, present and future conflicts.
Any individuals or businesses wishing to make donations to such a memorial may do so in person or by mail to the Purple Heart Monument Fund at the Bank of LaFayette, 101 W. Patton St., LaFayette, GA 30728.
Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary marking the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars. The day honors military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation and a remembrance ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. The ceremony honors and thanks all who served in the U.S. armed forces.
The following facts are made possible by the invaluable responses to the U.S. Census Bureau's surveys. We appreciate the public's cooperation as we continuously measure America's people, places and economy.
The number of military veterans in the United States in 2016.
The number of female veterans in the United States in 2016.
The percentage of veterans in 2016 who were black. Additionally, 78.0 percent were non-Hispanic white, 1.6 percent were Asian, 0.7 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.2 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 1.3 percent were some other race. (The numbers for blacks, non-Hispanic whites, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and some other race cover only those reporting a single race.)
The percentage of veterans in 2016 who were Hispanic. 9.2 million
Veterans, page A8
The number of veterans age 65 and older in 2016. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.6 million were younger than age 35.
When They Served
The number of Vietnam Era veterans in 2016. Moreover, there were 7.1 million who served during the Gulf War (representing service from August 1990 to present); 768,000 who served in World War II; 1.6 million who served in the Korean War; and 2.4 million who served in peacetime only. Source: 2016 American Community Survey https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/16_1YR/S2101
The number of living veterans in 2016 who served during three wartime periods:
• 65,562 served during the Vietnam Era and both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later).
• 25,703 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.
The number of living veterans in 2016 who served during two wartime periods:
• 1,150,328 served during both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later).
• 285,649 served during the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001) and the Vietnam Era.
• 140,101 served during the Korean War and the Vietnam Era. • 56,105 served during World War II and the Korean War.
Where They Live
The number of states with 1.0 million or more veterans in 2016. These states were California (1.6 million), Texas (1.5 million) and Florida (1.4 million).
The percentage of veterans 25 years and older with a bachelor's degree or higher in 2016. In comparison, 31.5 percent of nonveterans had a bachelor's degree or higher.
The annual median income of male veterans in 2016, compared with $35,365 for male nonveterans.
The annual median income of female veterans in 2016, compared with $23,445 for female nonveterans.
On the Job
The number of veterans 18 to 64 years old in the labor force in 2016. Of those veterans, 6.8 million were employed.
The number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating in 2016. Of this number, 1.3 million had a rating of 70.0 percent or higher. A "service-connected" disability is one that was a result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Severity of one's disability is scaled from 0.0 to 100.0 percent, and eligibility for compensation depends on one's rating.
The number of veterans who voted in the 2016 presidential election. In that election, 69.6 percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 60.6 percent of nonveterans. These rates reflect the citizen voting-age population.
The number of all U.S. employer firms that are majority owned by veterans. Veteran-owned firms comprised 7.2 percent of the nation's 5.5 million employer businesses.