‘Veterans Need Help Today; Our Lack of Attention is a Shame, ‘ Says Speaker;
CLARKSDALE - Amid stars and stripes, military uniforms, and patriotic music, a combat veteran from the First Gulf War announced, “Our veterans are in need of help today – our lack of attention is a shame.”
Delivering the Veterans Day address before hundreds at Coahoma Community College Monday, Jimmy Mathews of Lambert, who served in the 479th Ordnance company of a war he calls “unforgettable,” said, “Veterans across America have earned our utmost gratitude.”
“I am a small speck in a sea of men and women – representing all veterans and especially local veterans,” he said.
“Many have undiagnosed illness and need help; many are unemployed or underemployed,” he said. “I ask you not to turn your back, but to charge forward; these are our sons and daughters – they are our kinfolk, and we have a moral obligation to help.”
“We must not just give lip service,” continued Mathews who now serves as director of Quitman County Emergency Management. “Love is an action word; let’s do something for our veterans.”
“Send up a prayer and write a letter to state and federal authorities to enact laws to help,” he said. “We cannot thank them enough.”
Opening with an invocation by Joharrison Rockett and welcome by John Mayo, Letha Richards paid personal tribute to veterans as protectors of freedoms.
“Americans have always answered the call to duty,” she said. “The debts that you paid have not been forgotten; you fought for me when I was too scared to fight; you did not even know me, but laid down your life to protect me.”
Margaret Dixon, another former member of Clarksdale’s 479th Ordnance Company who served in the Persian Gulf, introduced the guest speaker, and vocalist Angela Collins sang “America the Beautiful.”
Tierra Washington and Kashiva Simmons presented a dramatization, and Emmanuel Lackey sang, “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Following closing remarks by Dr. Rosetta Howard, CCC vice president of academics., veterans and families were honored with a reception.