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Gayle Hedrington

November 18, 2009

Veteran's Day Dinner
November 14, 2009

What a great dinner for the veterans of Croydon, last Saturday! Approximately 60 veterans and their family members attended the event that honored all who served in the military. 

The Newport VFW Color Guard did the Presentation of the Colors; followed by CDR Bernard (Skins) Watkins, USN retired, moving recitation of "Sojourner's Toast to the Flag" Watkins' feelings for love of country and the military came through. 

CDR Bernard (Skins) Watkins USN retired holding flag and reciting "Sojourner's Toast." Newport VFW Color Guard in background. 
(Gayle Hedrington photo)


Sojourner's Toast to the Flag

Here's to the Red of it
There is not a thread of it,
No, nor a shred of it,
In all the spread of it,
From foot to head,
But heroes bled for it,
Faced steel and lead for it,
Precious blood shed for it, 
Bathing it Red.

Here's to the White of it
Thrilled by the sight of it,
Who knows the right of it,
But feels the might of it, 
Through day and night?
Womanhood's care for it, 
Made manhood dare for it,
Purity's prayer for it, 
Keeps it so white!

Here's to the Blue of it
Beauteous view of it, 
Heavenly hue of it, 
Star-spangled dew of it, 
Constant and true;
Diadem gleam for it, 
States stand supreme for it, 
Liberty's beam for it, 
Brightens the blue!

Here's to the whole of it
Stars, Stripes and Pole of it, 
Body and soul of it, 
0, and the roll of it, 
Sun shining through; 
Hearts in accord for it, 
Swear by the sword for it, 
Thanking the Lord for it, 
Red White and Blue.

Willis Ballou gave the invocation with a special remembrance for Bert Smith, a long time vet who passed away earlier this fall. 

Several children from the Croydon Village School and one fourth grader recited a poem praising the veterans. The schoolchildren also made place mats that graced the table. They did an excellent job and received much praise from the vets for their artwork. 

Moderator of the program John Clements gave an excellent speech, “Where Do These Men and Women Come From?” One point that Clements made was that service members from small towns make some of the best soldiers because of their can- do attitude. One disturbing fact in his talk was that out of all the young people eligible for military service only 30 percent qualify, the remainder have health issues, or felonies or  drug problems. 

There was also a call for each veteran to stand when his/her years of service was called. Croydon had representation from WWII to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

George West (left) receives a certificate as Croydon's oldest living veteran from Croydon Historical Society President Clayton Phillips.
(Gayle Hedrington photo)

Following the scrumptious dinner, Croydon Historical Society President Clayton Phillips, presented George West with a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol and a certificate for being the oldest living veteran in Croydon. West served during World War II from 1941-1946. West said he had no room to keep it and so it will be in the Town Office until next year. The flag was given by U.S, Senator Judd Greg, and its encasement purchased by the Croydon Selectboard. 

The evening ended with everyone singing God Bless America. 

Ethel Curtis and her Vietnam Era veteran son, Wayne, attended Croydon's salute to Veterans.
(Gayle Hedrington photo)

The Croydon Historical Society thanks the Croydon Volunteer Fire Department, The Ladies Auxiliary, The Croydon Congregational Church, the Croydon Select Board and all the veterans who helped make this event such a success. This will be an annual event for Croydon. 

Croydon Historical Society 

The Croydon Historical Society nominated officers for the following year. Jane Dearden-President, Carole Robinson - Vice President, and Bap Kresse- Secretary. Voting is in May. 

Carole Robinson is hosting the society’s annual Christmas party at her home on Old Springfield Road on Saturday, Dec. 12. The society will have its business meeting at 10:30 a.m. with a potluck luncheon to follow. All members of the historical society are invited. 

Treasurer John Thompson reported that the historical society received $520 for the Bert Smith memorial. The sum is a total of all donations. Monies received are being ear-marked for a permanent memorial to Bert Smith, who was a founding member and cornerstone of the society. 


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