Among the soldiers and sailors at Wednesday's 10th annual military appreciation luncheon were very few if any country club members or socialites in attendance looking to bask off their glory.
For this was a group who took the pledge of honor and service to country to heart no matter where they went after their military stints were over.
It started 10 years ago with just an idea, some invitations and a few families who attended. But, the pomp and ceremony that greeted attendees at the annual military appreciation luncheon, hosted by Mayors A C Wharton of Memphis and Mark Luttrell of Shelby County, displayed why the event has grown.
The occasion paid homage to those from every branch of service during a week in which the nation has honored those veterans past and present.
One of the featured speakers was Bill Anderson, who was chosen as judge for the recently created Shelby County Veterans Court. Formed in July it's already begun to make inroads in guiding troubled veterans who commit crimes back toward their rightful place in society.
"We don't coddle anybody," Judge Anderson said. "We don't insult veterans by trying to make things easy for them, because they're not used to that. They don't want that. They have learned the right to be treated special in Shelby County Criminal Court Division 7 Veterans Court."
The event also emphasized the theme of the military as a family. In a week in which scandal has placed a spotlight on the alleged tawdry relationships which have crippled the credibility of two top brass leaders, guest speaker Retired Command Sergeant Major and Memphian Marvin Hill, who served in Afghanistan with Gen. David Petraeus, gave credence to military wives who keep the home fires burning.
"There are families who survived deployment after deployment," said CSM (Ret.) Hill. "Executing the mission of keeping the home fires burning and the home front functional. While their soldier, sailor or their marine was off during our nation's business."
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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