By Morgan Bryce
Fighting for freedom is not only tasked to America’s soldiers, but her citizens too, according to Opelika native and U.S. Vietnam veteran James F. Hughley during the City of Opelika’s Veterans Day service Friday.
“The defense of freedom is not just for those in the military … each of us shares that duty and that responsibility. We can protect our freedom simply by maintaining it here in America,” Hughley said.
Hughley was drafted into the Army in 1967, and received only three months of training before he was deployed to Vietnam. During his tour, he was wounded three times, and received three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star Medal for both his injuries and heroic actions.
Other highlights of the service included the presentation of colors by the Lyman Ward Military Academy Color Guard and Drill Team, performance of the national anthem by the Opelika High School Show Choir, reading of ‘My Name Is Old Glory’ by Opelika Army veteran Todd Rauch and prayers led by First United Methodist Pastor Robin Wilson.
After the service, the Museum of East Alabama hosted a reception, with food catered by Niffer’s On the Tracks.
Nov. 11, 2017, marked the 63rd annual celebration of Veterans Day. Previously known as Armistice Day to commemorate the cessation of World War I, the U.S. officially changed its name in 1954 to ‘Veterans Day’, a day to honor the service of all of America’s veterans, both living and dead.