Auburn, Opelika hosts Veterans Day Celebrations

Published: Nov. 11, 2023 at 11:03 AM EST
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EAST ALABAMA. (WTVM) - The cities of Auburn and Opelika both held Veterans Day events yesterday. Opelika began with a breakfast for Veterans and their families, and Auburn held its annual Wreath-laying Ceremony.

Veterans Day is a day of giving thanks and remembrance. Veterans along with their families gathered in Opelika and in Auburn to look back on their time in the military, but also come together to remember the ones who have passed.

The ceremony in Auburn featured U.S. Army Veteran Drew Lufkin who spoke on the epidemic of veteran suicide. Clarence Stewart is a U.S. Army veteran and former Auburn Police officer. He says he commends the city of Auburn for bringing in speakers who will address hard issues.

“It’s great to see that the city is continuing through this process and bringing in great speakers that bring awareness to some of the things that affect us as veterans right now, and in turn, affect our whole community,” said Stewart.

The ceremony held in Opelika offered a free breakfast to veterans and their families this morning where we met Jerry Dakins. He served in the U.S. Navy for 21 years and continues to work with veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He says veterans still need the camaraderie after they retire from the service.

“In Auburn, at the VFW Post, we have a Veterans Community Center, and every Wednesday morning from 8-11 a.m, we allow veterans to come in and visit, drink a little coffee, eat a few donuts or sweets, and talk about our experiences in the military,” said Dakins.

A very clear message was sent across both communities. Auburn and Opelika both love and support their veterans throughout the entire year. Auburn Mayor Ron Anders says he is proud of the city’s unwavering support of veterans.

“I believe Auburn has a great history of recognizing those that protect us. I hope that will continue,” said Anders. “I missed the camaraderie, I missed the sense of purpose. These meetings and these events, help you with that. They help you get through those things, they really do. Especially if you don’t have anyone else in your life who can help you through it. This is what we need. We need more of it.”

There are many ways you can serve veterans who may need mental healthcare in East Alabama and the Columbus area.