On Veterans Day in the Lowcountry, there were ceremonies and celebrations to say ‘thanks’ and show gratitude to those who served and sacrificed in the Armed Forces.
In Beaufort, the annual Veterans Day ceremony took place at Beaufort National Cemetery. The Parris Island Marine Corps Band played, as the USMC Color Guard posted colors. The crowd honored all veterans who served in all military branches.
In Bluffton, the first ever Veterans Day parade kicked-off at 10 a.m. Commander of the Bluffton American Legion Post 205 and parade organizer Robert Sterling called it a celebration in gratitude, he says had been missing from his hometown.
“The other towns and communities in Beaufort County are very military-oriented. Bluffton, until our efforts now, has not been, and we’re attempting to change that outlook and generate some respect and honor for our veterans,” Sterling said.
Veterans aboard his float include a World War II British sailor.
“Veterans Day, everybody is very friendly, and appreciative that I’ve come, which is touching for me,” Ralph Stevens said. “I brought the flag here, and when I’m finished I’m going to give it to [a veteran] as my token.”
At Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) in Beaufort, a Veterans Resource Center (VRC) opened. It’s a place where veterans and veterans who are students can go to gain access to materials and help they need for veteran programs and for things like tuition help.
“Sometimes the veterans have trouble accessing those resources. The center will help them in that regard, showing them how to get to those resources. It will also help them enroll in the college and it will help them find the career path that is most suited to their career goals,” TCL’s Military & Education Director Paul Merritt said.
Chris Kirby, once in the Marine Corps, was awarded a scholarship. He is studying to be an EMT. He says the GI bill doesn’t cover his tuition.
“Anything that helps military or me, specifically, to come and be able to talk to people who have insight on how to get help, to pay for tuition, or like me i just kind of charged it and hoped for the best…’cause you’re looking for camaraderie and different things,” Kirby says.
If you need to access the VRC, you can contact Christina Welsch-Copeland at (843)525-8264 or (317)366-8489 or 1-800-768-8252 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.