Honor & Old Glory
Historical society launches ceremony to honor men and women of Hopkins County serving in armed forces

Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Joe Minter presents a flag that was flown over the Heritage Park Veterans Memorial to Dr. Henry and Veda Sellers, who have a grandson, PFC Nathan G. Sellers, who is now serving in Iraq. The Hopkins County Historical Society, in conjunction with Hopkins County Commissioners and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8560, are presenting flags flown over Heritage Park Veterans Memorial to the parents, wives and families of soldiers currently serving in the armed forces. To request a flag be flown for any person serving in the armed forces from Hopkins County, contact Heritage Park and Museum office at 416 Jackson St. or call 903-885-2387 for more information.
Staff photo by Ricky Russell

April 9, 2004 -- Hopkins County Historical Society began a new tradition with a special ceremony Tuesday when flags were presented to Hopkins County residents who have family members serving in the armed forces.

Historical society member Rick Wilson came up with the idea, and society members quickly adopted what is hoped to become a community-wide effort.

"We started late in 2003 trying to come up with a way that we could honor the young men and women who are offering their service in the military," Wilson said. "We finally came up with the idea that, if we could get the cooperation of the county and Veterans of Foreign Wars, the historical society was in favor of doing a flag ceremony."

The ceremony involves flying a flag over Veterans Memorial in Heritage Park to honor those young men and women from Hopkins County who are serving in the military.

The effort has been joined by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8560 and Hopkins County, with a certificate signed by all three entities recognizing the young soldier presented to the family along with the flag.

The first flag ceremony was held earlier this week to recognize two young Hopkins County men.

"Bradley Bettis and Nathan Sellers are both serving, right now, in Iraq," Wilson said. "We're extremely proud of these young men."

Karrie Harmon, whose son, Cpl. Bradley W. Bettis, is on active duty in Iraq, said the flag ceremony was emotional and shows the support everybody has for her son and lets him know that everybody is proud of him.

"It means a lot to me, you know, showing support for my son," Mrs. Harmon said. "Because it's hard to send them over there."

Bettis' grandmother, Pat Lyle, agreed with her daughter.

"It means everything," she said. "It was sad, it was real sad for us, but it was about the greatest thing they could have done for us."

The flag for Cpl. Bettis was requested by his sister, Rhandi Harmon.

The second flag and certificate was presented to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sellers, grandparents of Nathan Sellers. The flag was requested by Rick Wilson, who said Sellers was an Eagle Scout in his Boy Scout troop.

Wilson said the historical society wants to recognize as many county residents as possible.

"All we are asking is the name, rank, where they are stationed and who is making the request because they will get a certificate also," Wilson said.

Only one restriction is placed on the flag ceremony -- the young man or woman in the service to be honored must be a resident of Hopkins County.

Families who would like to request a flag are asked to leave the necessary information at the museum at Heritage Park, located at 416 North Jackson St.

The society hopes to continue the program for at least a year. As much as possible, the society will conduct the flag ceremonies on special days such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

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