By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian
“We must never forget those who gave us the freedom, the democracy we enjoy today,” retired Arkadelphia dentist and politician Tommy Roebuck’s words echoed through the National Guard Armory downtown during a Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
“We can be who we want to be,” Roebuck, a Vietnam veteran, continued. “We can do what we want to do. Our veterans made this possible. We must never forget.”
Hosted by the Arkadelphia High School Junior ROTC, the service attracted more than 75 residents — several of them veterans — to the Armory. Roebuck was the guest speaker for the 2022 event.
Following an opening prayer from Greater Tate Temple COGIC Pastor LeRoy Williams and posting of colors, Clark County Justice of the Peace Jenna Scott led the crowd in song with the National Anthem.
JROTC cadets Elias Ericksson, Camryn Allison and Emma Nelson emceed much of the ceremony. Of the 108 cadets enrolled in the AHS JROTC program, more than a dozen were selected to organize Friday’s service.
Roebuck recognized the veterans present at the ceremony, and gave praise to all veterans. “We honor them for their willingness to serve and for the sacrifice they endured to sustain and perpetuate our democracy and our freedom,” Roebuck said. “Today, we reaffirm our dedication, our commitment and our loyalty to this nation in which we have been blessed to be citizens.”
The former state representative quoted U.S. Presidents George Washington and Calvin Coolidge, stressing the importance of perceiving veterans in a positive light so that new generations are more apt to serve.
Roebuck also gave recognition to the late Dexter B. Florence, an Army helicopter pilot killed in action in Vietnam. Arkadelphia’s airport is named in his honor.
Cadet Nelson gave special recognition to local veterans who have passed away in 2022, and Cadet Allison led the POW/MIA ceremony. Cadet Perry Nelson played “TAPS”.
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