Wicker to speak at Newton County Veterans Day event

By BRENT MAZE,

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Pontotoc, will be the keynote speaker during the Veterans Day program at 10 a.m. Saturday in front of the Newton County Courthouse.

This year’s program is being sponsored by Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery and Newton County. Local veterans representative Johnny Reeves said Mississippi Veterans Cemetery officials wanted to try a new venue for its Veterans Day program.

“In the past, the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery has done their own program at the cemetery, but they are hoping to increase the attendance at the event by having it at the courthouse,” Reeves said. “Mr. (Henry) Gruno had to get Jackson to approve this, and they were willing to give it a try.”

Reeves said this is the first visit by Wicker to Newton County in a while and hopes this will help drive attendance at the event. Wicker is the junior senator of Mississippi, succeeding Trent Lott who resigned in December 2007.

Wicker is a member of the Senate Republican leadership team and served as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 114th Congress among his committee appointments.

In addition to Gruno from the veterans cemetery, other speakers include Joshua Sherer, chaplain of the 204th Air Defense Artillery headquartered in Newton, and Harry Hastings.

Newton County High School chorus members will present patriotic songs at 10 a.m. followed by a presentation of the colors by the Mississippi Army National Guard at 10:15 a.m. with the national anthem and a devotion.

At 11 a.m., a wreath will be laid at the veterans memorial in front of the courthouse with the playing of taps.

Following the ceremony, a separate Veterans Day celebration will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the American Legion hut on Hwy. 15. The Josh Dickerson Band will headline the festival.

Reeves said that numerous veteran-related vendors will be present at the hut including the Veterans Administration Health and Benefits Team, Southern Care Hospice for Heroes, Mississippi State Guard, Friends of Mississippi Veterans and Hot Coffee Hunt for Heroes.

The American Legion Post 89 will be selling its Brunswick stew as a fundraiser for the group.