Purple Heart Monument Unveiled During Freeport Veterans Day Observance

PURPLE HEART RECIPIENTS unveil the new monument.

Story and photos by JEFFREY POWELL

Well in excess of 300 individuals of all ages gathered on Friday, Nov. 10, for this year’s Freeport Veterans Day ceremony held adjacent to Freeport City Hall. Visitors were greeted to the observance by a beautiful cloudless sky and warm but comfortable temperatures. Freeport Veterans Committee Chair Tim Ard welcomed everyone to the ceremony and thanked a long list of both organizations and individuals that contributed to making the day a success.

“This day could not be possible without the generosity and support of an amazing community,” said Ard. “This year we are forever grateful to the St. Joe Community Foundation for their gracious gift of grant monies that have made the new Purple Heart memorial possible.”

Several patriotic songs were performed by a variety of artists during the ceremony which included the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard and the Walton High School Air Force Junior ROTC. This year’s keynote speaker was retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. James Kennedy of Port St. Joe.

“We are here to honor our veterans, to remember their achievements, their courage and their dedication and to say thank you for their sacrifices in defense of our nation,” said Kennedy. “Thinking of the veterans who join us in this group today and those who are here only in spirit, a person cannot help but feel awed by the enormity of what we encounter. We stand in the midst of patriots and the family and friends of those who have nobly served.”

The ceremony concluded with Purple Heart recipients Charles Knight and Scott Roessler unveiling the new Purple Heart monument. After the ceremony visitors were able to view the new monument while enjoying a cupcake and drinks supplied by the Freeport Town Planters Society.

Additional photos in this week’s Herald Breeze.