A touch of winter was in the air Thursday 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.

Members of American Legion Post 269, Palmerton; and the Vietnam Veterans of Carbon County; then posted the colors.

Gil Henry, 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.

Following the introductions, Desrosiers spoke about today's heroes and the sacrifices they made for our country.

He also asked everyone to remember the military personnel who are still fighting today.

"I ask you to offer a sincere thank you to a veteran when you see them," Desrosiers said. "A thank you means more to most veterans than any reward."

Carbon County Commissioners William O'Gurek, Charles Getz, and Wayne Nothstein; as well as special guest speaker Ret. Master Sgt. Patrick Rodgers, a Jim Thorpe resident who served in the Air Force for 20 years, then addressed the people in attendance.

"As we pause from our daily ritual," O'Gurek said, "we're mindful of the courage that our veterans have shown. It is imperative that we give testimony to the bravery and commitment of our veterans. They have protected us from danger and have made the ultimate sacrifices.

"Keep in mind the brave men and women of this nation. They fought for us and we should provide them with a hearty thank you."

Getz said that we should never forget what veterans have done for us and this country.

"When you see someone wearing a uniform, thank them," he said. "Many are giving their lives to keep us free."

He then spoke about his late brother, who served in World War II.

"We are indebted to these brave men and women," Getz concluded. "Thank you. God bless you and God bless America."

Nothstein spoke of the sacrifices the military men and women make.

He said that on Thanksgiving, think about the men and women serving overseas now and what they are eating as a Thanksgiving meal. Say a prayer for them. On Christmas, remember that they are not getting to spend time with their families, but are serving to keep others safe.

"Thank the veterans and the families," Nothstein said. "Ask them what you can do for them."

Rodgers then addressed the audience.

He spoke about three P's – pride, passion and professionalism.

A member of the military must possess all of these qualities in their jobs because it is an honorable position to serve this country.

He also reminded everyone that support is the greatest thing a soldier needs when he or she is serving. He became visibly choked up as he talked about his family and friends who supported him during his military career.

He ended by thanking the veterans organizations that have honored so many throughout the years.

Following the speeches, Albert Kohler of the Post 269 played Taps and members of the color guard fired a 21-gun salute.