The memories of wars gone by hung in the air Tuesday afternoon as residents, veterans, and employees of Carbon County gathered in Josiah White Park in Jim Thorpe to honor the brave men and women who served the country.
During the county's annual Veterans Day program, Henry Desrosiers, director of the Office of Veterans Affairs in Carbon County, welcomed everyone to the event.
"For any man or woman in the service, Veterans Day is a time to remember," he said. "For most vets, it is a day to remember those who served with them."
He noted that this year marks the 91st anniversary of the end of World War I, the war that was supposed to end all wars.
Desrosiers then talked about how veterans sacrificed so much so we could live freely.
"We owe this country's very existence to these veterans," he said. "There are many reasons why America is the greatest country on earth, but veterans are the keystone.
"It is a great day to be American. It is a great day to be a veteran."
Members of area veterans' organizations then posted the colors.
The Rev. Robert Gildersleeve, Dolon-Jones-Martino American Legion Post 304 chaplain, provided the invocation and benediction. He asked the Lord to bless the veterans and the men and women who are still serving in the military. He also reminded everyone that Nov. 10 was the Marine Corp's birthday.
Angela Nardini showcased her singing ability with her rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner."
Desrosiers announced that the event's special guest speaker, Col. Michael Bimler, who was originally from East Mauch Chunk, was unable to attend because of his military obligations at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Guest speakers William O'Gurek, Charles Getz, and Wayne Nothstein, county commissioners, then addressed the crowd.
O'Gurek thanked everyone for taking the time to come out and support our veterans.
He talked about what a soldier goes through in life.
They are usually not more than 19 when they enlist and throughout their time in the military, they endure physical challenges, battles, the loss of comrades, and more, O'Gurek stated.
He urged everyone to remember the brave men and women who gave their blood, sweat and tears for this country and asked that everyone pray for them.
"Prayer is what our men and women need," O'Gurek said.
He ended his speech by sharing a prayer Jill Biden received from a man when her son was deployed to the Gulf.
"Do what Jill did when her son was leaving for the Gulf," O'Gurek said. "Rely on God. Rely on prayer."
Commissioners Getz and Nothstein echoed O'Gurek's thoughts, thanking veterans for their service to this country.
"We are thankful and proud of the veterans," Getz said, adding that everyone should thank a veteran when they see one.
Nothstein also reminded every veteran that they are important.
He talked about how times have changed and wars are not only fought on foreign soil. He mentioned the terroristic attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; and the recent shootings at Fort Hood in Texas.
Following the speeches, a gun salute, performed by the area's United Veterans' Organization, echoed through the valley; William Diehm of American Legion Post 304, Jim Thorpe, played Taps; and Nardini sang "God Bless America."