Wilson County congratulated the thousands of county veterans with its annual parade and Veterans Day program at the Wilson County Veterans Plaza.

The annual parade was without some of its usual components as the COVID-19 pandemic caused the elimination of bands, however, rain cleared the area just in time for the Veterans Day program to take place outdoors.

“I want to thank you for serving this country and your countrymen. I want to thank you for the sacrifices and dedication that you’ve made,” said Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash, a Vietnam veteran who delivered the invocation for the event. “Unless you’re a veteran, you don’t really understand what those sacrifices are. I understand what some of you have gone through. Some of you have gone through much, much more than I have.”

Wilson County Veterans Service director ZaBrina Seay applauded the nearly 10,000 military veterans in Wilson County.

“I share the pride you feel in being able to say you have served in the greatest military in the world,” Seay said. “Regardless of where and when you served and your branch affiliation, you represent an unbroken chain of patriotic warriors who have served this country with honor and distinction.”

Seay delivered a message of ensuring support for veterans throughout Wilson County in various ways.

“If after this ceremony, we go home and forget about the connection between the service of our veterans and our obligations as citizens, then we would be doing a disservice to our veterans. We have a duty to provide for them and their families once they come home,” she said.

Seay said through partnerships throughout Wilson County, the office has been able to house 13 homeless veterans this year. She also urged businesses to strongly consider hiring a veteran, who display several positive attributes, such as leadership, adaptability, teamwork skills and problem-solving abilities.

“You have firefighters, EMTs, police officers, bankers, IT specialists, analysts, supply chain mangers, chefs, pilots, preachers, CEOs, entrepreneurs and directors. The list goes on, and all of these people have served in similar capacity in the military all over the world. Surely, they are capable and willing to come here and serve in our county. Our veterans help keep Wilson County strong,” she said.

“My message today is to thank a veteran by hiring a veteran. You’ll get a trained leader, a thinker, an executor — someone who has served our country and wants to continue serving in our community. We can and will benefit greatly from the proven talents of our veterans.”

The ceremony also included a $2,000 donation from Charter Communications to Wilson Warriors in honor of Veterans Day.

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