Military veterans honored, islanders pay respects

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Veteran Alla Hull, of Bradenton, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1955-63. He played taps near the close of The Islander Veterans Salute Nov. 10 at Memorial Park at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor
Memorial Park at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive, was spruced up by the public works department before the Nov. 10 Veterans Salute presented by The Islander and the city of Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor

Dawn welcomed an appropriately somber, gray day Nov. 10 at Holmes Beach City Hall.

Nearly 100 people attended a 35-minute morning Veterans Salute in observance of Veterans Day at Memorial Park, 5801 Marina Drive.

The salute, presented by The Islander and the city of Holmes Beach, was highlighted by a flag presentation featuring five military branches — U.S Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard — a rifle salute and a moving rendition of the taps bugle call performed by Allan Hull of Bradenton, who served in the Air Force 1955-63.

Hull informed his stirring solo with memories of three high school classmates killed in action.

“Within two weeks, they were killed by a mine,” Hull said. “It’s very heart-wrenching to think of all the people who didn’t come back.”

City hall was closed in observance of the federal holiday but nearly 100 people were outside, perched on folding chairs for the event, including 10 members of the American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24 Honor Guard.

Some honor guard members had mixed feelings about the state of U.S. recognition for military veterans, including kneeling during the national anthem at National Football League games.

“This generation has shown a lot of disrespect to veterans, including all those who lost their lives,” said Earl Mattashed, of Palmetto, who served in the Navy 1956-60. “Not only kneeling at NFL games, but even in the school system, where military history is not taught anymore.”

Others said they take it upon themselves to remember their fellow military personnel.

“It’s respectful for the honor guard to remember the veterans who have passed and those who are still here,” said Army vet Charles Magnus of Bradenton, who served 1971-74.

Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy, sporting an Army hat, lightened the mood with a wisecrack about coming to Holmes Beach.

“It’s always a pleasure to come to the low-rent district,” he said.

Turning serious, Murphy said his military experience was life-changing. He advised all veterans to make a humble reply when a civilian thanks them for their service.

“Say thank you for having let us serve,” Murphy said. “It’s more rewarding to serve than to be served.”

Murphy went on to detail the many things he is thankful for as a result of his military service, including free hospital stays for his wife on the birth of their children, a low-interest VA loan, an education on the G.I. Bill that led to a career and more.

Murphy remains grateful for his opportunity to serve.

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Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson issued a Veterans Day proclamation, noting the title of the military holiday signifies it belongs to all Americans.

“It’s not a day that belongs to veterans,” Johnson said. “It’s a day for honoring all veterans.”

Johnson’s proclamation lauded U.S. military veterans as heroes who have saved millions of people from oppression.

“They stepped forward when America needed them the most,” he said. “Our veterans are beacons of liberty and have earned the respect of a grateful nation.”

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