The Town of Benson held its Veteran’s Day celebration on Saturday, welcoming a crowd to the Singing Grove to enjoy a parade and lunch.
Slightly overcast skies kept the air cool as people began to mingle — eventually picking out a nice spot along the Grove’s brick perimeter to watch the parade procession pass by. Benson’s Mayor William Massengill led the line in his convertible accompanied by Benson’s oldest veteran — 91-year-old Warren Calkin, who served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.
Mayor Massengill and Mr. Calkin were followed by Benson’s American Legion, the American Legion Riders, Cub Scout Pack 19, Girl Scouts service unit 329, the American Heritage Girls and a few classic rides from Full Throttle Car Club. The crowd cheered them on, waving tiny American flags.
Town Manager Matt Zapp welcomed everyone to the Singing Grove following the parade.
“The Town of Benson is just so thankful for each and every one of our veterans who have allowed us the freedoms to be here today,” he said. “We take this event extremely serious and we’re very appreciative for the veterans who have served and those who are actively serving. So, today is an exceptional day for Benson and our vets.”
Mayor Massengill also addressed the crowd.
“November is a season for giving thanks and it’s a time for thinking about all the things we are thankful for,” he said. “As Americans how can we come to this time and not be thankful for our liberty and the ability to live as free people? Free to think and feel as God leads each of us.”
“That freedom that we cherish today has come as a result of a heavy price,” the mayor continued. “It is the cost of human lives, men and women. And today we celebrate those men and women who gave themselves as a living sacrifice. Many as young as 18 years old who said, ‘if not me, then who?’ and others that when their country called said ‘yes’ they would serve.”
The town’s sound system played patriotic tunes as lunch was served. Benson’s Police Department provided the meal with Chief Kenneth Edwards grilling up more than 300 hotdogs to hand out to the crowd.