Since its formation, when America called, Henderson County residence have answered, putting their lives on the line in Europe, Africa, Asia and other faraway spots on the globe.
The East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society Veterans Day ceremony on Monday will honor those who served. The observance is scheduled for 11 a.m. in front of the expansive Veterans Memorial, where the names of more than 9,000 county residents who were in active duty during the nation's wars on display, chiseled into the granite slabs.
Since the memorial was dedicated years ago, hundreds of the surviving veterans have been in the crowd during one or more of the annual observances.
The speaker for the 2019 ceremony is Larry West, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Also on he bill are Athens Mayor Monte Montgomery, Air Force Veteran Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin, First Christian Church minister Kern Railsback.
Local musicians and singers will be on hand to add to the patriotic feel.
A choir from South Athens Elementary School directed by Taylor Hennig, will sing songs honoring our service personnel and our nation. The Athens High School Concert Choir is set to perform and AHS band trumpeter Daniela Becker is scheduled to play.
The arboretum is at 1601 Patterson Road, off U.S. 175. If it rains, the ceremony will be moved under the pavilion. Handicap parking is available, and members of the arboretum board and staff will be there to help those who attend. All areas are handicap-accessible.
If it rains, they'll move the activities under the pavilion.
Late arboretum board member Bob McDonald was behind much of the planning of the memorial and gathering the names of county veterans — from the Civil War to present day.
More than 1,000 Civil War veterans are listed. The largest representation is from World War 11, with 5,000 names.
The arboretum has established "Friends of the Memorial" to help fund upkeep and enhancements for the memorial.