[caption id="attachment_62302" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2019\/11\/Veterans.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="507" class="size-full wp-image-62302" \/> Each time a veteran organization has a dinner, a small table is set with a single place setting, signifying those service members who are classified as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action [POW\/MIA]. At the Veterans Day dinner Monday at the Pocahontas County Opera House, Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps commander Rick Wooddell and member Donnie Waybright performed the POW\/MIA ceremony prior to the meal. S. Stewart photo[\/caption]\r\n\r\nSuzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nThe 11th\u00a0hour of the 11th\u00a0day of the 11th\u00a0month, communities around the country gather to honor the men and women who served in the armed forces.\r\n\r\nAt the Pocahontas County Opera House, Veterans Day was celebrated with a ceremony by the Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps, and a dinner sponsored by Dominion Energy, Pocahontas County Senior Center and the Marlinton Woman\u2019s Club. \r\n\r\nIn his comments, Honor Corps commander Rick Wooddell mentioned that 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion. In honor of that, he shared the Veterans Day message from the American Legion headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana.\r\n\r\n\u201cHorrible, ghastly and ghoulish,\u201d he began. \u201cThese are some of the adjectives Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia \u2013 who was recently awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery \u2013 used to describe the battlefields that he saw in Iraq. Even so, the U.S. Army staff sergeant said it was also a place where we saw love.\u201d\r\n\r\nBellavia was quoted, saying, \u201cYou see people doing things for each other that they would never, ever do in any other circumstance \u2013\u00a0it\u2019s a sight to see.\u201d\r\n\r\nBellavia rescued an infantry squad that was pinned down by machine gun fire during the second battle of Fallujah at the height of the Iraq War.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cBellavia\u2019s actions during a pre-dawn mission on November 10, 2004, made the former noncommissioned officer the Iraq War\u2019s first living recipient of the military\u2019s highest award of valor,\u201d Wooddell said. \u201cPutting himself in that position is \u2018what sets him apart,\u2019 according to retired Sergeant First Class Colin Fitts.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cFitts credits Bellavia\u2019s actions with saving the lives of 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, that day.\u201d\r\n\r\nWooddell said Bellavia\u2019s is just one of a million stories from veterans of all wars.\r\n\r\n\u201cLike the story of Army Private First Class Monica Lin Brown,\u201d he said. \u201cPFC Brown was a combat medic assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division when she was deployed to Paktika Province, Afghanistan. On April 25, 2007, a roadside bomb tore through her convoy, wounding five soldiers.\u201d\r\n\r\nBrown \u2013\u00a0a 19-year-old \u2013\u00a0ran through the insurgent gunfire and shielded her wounded comrades with her body while she tried to save them from oncoming mortars.\r\n\r\n\u201cHer bravery and actions in the remote, Southeastern Afghan province would lead her to become the first woman to earn the Silver Star in Afghanistan, and just the second woman to do so since World War II,\u201d Wooddell said. \u201cAgain, the exception and the extraordinary.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe camaraderie doesn\u2019t end when the soldiers come home and retire their uniforms. It continues as they join organizations like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans.\r\n\r\nThat camaraderie is also seen every day in the acts of kindness bestowed upon veterans by other veterans and their families.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen news got out that a Vietnam War veteran had no living relatives to attend his funeral, the veteran community was there,\u201d Wooddell said. \u201cFriends of Wayne Wilson had put out a call for people to come to his burial service at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles, Michigan, and expected only a handful of people to attend.\r\n\r\n\u201cThey underestimated the power of the American Legion,\u201d he continued. \u201cThree thousand people showed up to pay their respects. Another example is the five thousand people that showed up for Tech Sergeant Joseph Walker in central Texas this year when the same word went out.\u201d\r\n\r\nThose are just a few of the stories waiting to be told, Wooddell said. The stories are important, and it is important to learn from those stories.\r\n\r\n\u201cBefore you leave here today, I have something to ask of you,\u201d he said. \u201cFind someone here and ask them to tell you their story. Every single woman and man who has raised their right hand and pledged to give their life for their country, if needed, did so for a reason. Ask them why.\r\n\r\n\u201cThese stories and memories of ours are powerful,\u201d he continued. \u201cThey are one of our most powerful weapons in securing a future for those who will follow us. As veterans, we are acutely aware of the sacrifices made by our service members. We are equally aware of the cost of those sacrifices. We know the value in the lessons that our military service bestowed upon us. These are things that we cannot afford to lose to time.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn closing, Wooddell shared a somber fact and beseeched the crowd to take action to change the statistic concerning veteran suicide.\r\n\r\n\u201cEvery day, across the United States, seventeen service members take their own lives,\u201d he said. \u201cThe American Legion has asked all veterans to do what they call Buddy Checks. Check on your veteran friends and make sure that they are getting along. We want them to know that they are important for what they have done and what they can do in the future. They have put out an acronym that they would like us to use. It\u2019s called SAVE.\r\n\r\n\u201cS stands for signs. Look for signs of sleeplessness and mood swings and see if you can help.\r\n\r\n\u201cAsk if they need help. Sometimes they\u2019re just unwilling to speak up.\r\n\r\n\u201cValidate their experience. We\u2019ve all been through it. Reassure them that help is available if they need it.\r\n\r\n\u201cAnd E \u2013\u00a0Evaluate for treatment and if they need help, try to get it expedited. You can visit any of the veterans services online.\u201d\r\n\r\nPrior to the meal, Wooddell, with the help of Honor Corps member Donnie Waybright, performed the POW\/ MIA ceremony and Bells for the Fallen.\r\n\r\nEach year, the Honor Corps remembers those who have passed since the previous Veterans Day, with the ringing of a bell. Those honored this year were:\r\n\r\nDon Kiner, 80, United States Army, Vietnam\r\n\r\nGuy Rexrode, 92, United States Marine Corps, World War II\r\n\r\nJames Shearer, 74, United States Army, Vietnam\r\n\r\nJack Morrison, 83, United States Army, Korea\r\n\r\nHershel Mullins, 81, United States Air Force, Vietnam\r\n\r\nTeddy McPaters, 87, United States Army, Korea\r\n\r\nRoger L. Sharp, 72, United States Army, Vietnam\r\n\r\nThomas Shafer, 79, United States Army, Vietnam\r\n\r\nPhillip Vannoy, 53, United States Army, served from 84 to 86\r\n\r\nClarence Cutlip, 87, United States Marine Corps, Korea\r\n\r\nJames McElwee, Jr., 47, United States Air Force, Desert Shield, Desert Storm\r\n\r\nChristopher Gallew, 26, United States Army, Operation Enduring Freedom\r\n\r\nRobert Galford, 87, United States Army, Korea\r\n\r\nRobert Furman, 90, United States Army Air Corps, World War II\r\n\r\nRay Kramer, 82, United States Army, Korea\r\n\r\nRalph Romine, 77, United States Air Force, Vietnam\r\n\r\nEdward Mullenax, 89, United States Army, Korea\r\n\r\nJoseph Shafer, 76, United States Navy, Vietnam\r\n\r\nJames Robert Thompson, 78, United States Army, Korea\r\n\r\nSherman McLaughlin, 78, United States Army, Vietnam\r\n\r\nDaniel Hedrick, 70, United States Navy, Vietnam\r\n\r\nMcKinley Friel, 90, United States Army, World War II\r\n\r\nRobert Swigert, 75, United States Army, Vietnam\r\n\r\nEdgar Starks, 81, United States Army, Korea\r\n\r\nSteve Irvin, 80, United States Navy, Vietnam\r\n\r\nWooddell thanked all those in attendance on behalf of American Legion Post 50 and Commander Barry Sharp, American Legion Post 117 and Commander Duke Fry, VFW Post 4595 and Commander Harvey Galford, VVA Post 1100 and President Norris Long, DAV Post 35 and Commander Sollie Workman and the Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps.