Celebrations, Simpsonville

Local Navy Veteran gives Keynote Address at Simpsonville’s Veterans Day celebration.

The city of Simpsonville held its annual Veterans Day ceremony virtually this year because of Covid concerns.

The production was created by Simpsonville staff & Mayor Paul Shewmaker. It is available in its entirety on the City of Simpsonville’s website as well as the Sentinel website.

The text of the mayor’s comments is included on page 3 of the Sentinel ‘From the Desk of the Mayor’.

Chief Warrant Officer, Steven Watterson, an Engineering Technical Officer who served 31 years in the U.S. Navy gave the keynote address. He began his presentation with the oath of office that all officer and enlisted personnel confirm at enlistment.

Officers
I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Enlisted Personnel
“I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
Mr. Waterson also shared the history of Veterans Day and the Poppy.

Veterans Day is celebrated on November the 11th because World War 1 ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The poppies were introduced based on the poem “Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. Normally Veterans do not wear poppies on Veterans Day as this day is for remembering the living as opposed to Memorial Day remembering the fallen.

In Flanders fields,
the poppies blow
between the crosses,
row on row
that mark our place,
and in the sky the larks,
still bravely singing,
fly scarce heard
amid the guns below
We are the dead,
short days ago
We lived, felt dawn,
saw sunset glow
Loved, and were loved,
and now we lie
In Flanders fields
In Flanders fields
And now we lie
In Flanders fields
Take up our quarrel
with the foe:
To you from failing
hands we throw
The torch, be yours
to hold it high
If ye break faith with
us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
In Flanders fields
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
In Flanders fields

We remember that freedom is not free. Not only in Fiscal resources but more importantly the human sacrifice.

Our Armed Forces are on watch as I speak. All around the globe they are watching over American Interest.

The creed that is accepted by all American fighting men or women.

I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am pre- pared to give my life in their defense.

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command I will never surrender my men while they still have the means to resist.

If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

When questioned, should 1 become a prisoner of war, I am bound to give only name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

Current analysis indicates that an average of 20 veterans die from suicide per day.

When you see a Veteran please thank them for their service! But, also ask them how they are doing and please stand by an listen to what they have to say.

I thank the Mayor and people of Simpsonville for allowing me this time to share some history and my thoughts on Veterans Day!■

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