"Oh mighty god, we call out to you as the one who is sovereign above all, watch over and protect our nation's military families and their members, sustain them with your everlasting arm. Today, we honor our veterans — worthy men and women — who have given their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country. We pray you will bless them lord for their unselfish service in this continual struggle to preserve our freedoms and our safety."
Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson led dozens of Spring Hill residents in that prayer Sunday afternoon at the Memorial Park Funeral Home Veterans Day Service where Spring Hill Mayor Rick Graham, Representatives Sam Whitson, Scott Cepicky and Joey Hensley, as well as dozens of local veterans gathered to honor those who have served in the armed forces.
"I want to take my couple of minutes here and elaborate on two of our honored guests today," Graham said, kicking the service off. "First, a while back I was invited to a Daughters of the American Revolution war ceremony, and had the huge pleasure of meeting Ms. Winnie Breegle, who's here in our front row. I was so blown away with her heroic story, I immediately invited her to one of our city board meetings so we could honor her accordingly too. It's a treat to see her here today, and being acknowledged for a piece of American history that will always be remembered. She had become quite the Spring Hill celebrity, and rightly so for being a truly American hero."
Born in 1922, Breegle served in the United States Navy during WWII, and played a critical role in the war effort as a Navajo 'Code Talker,' transmitting war tactics and other critical information over radio and telephone using encrypted codes. Breegle had been previously honored by Spring Hill leaders in October for her exemplary service to the United States.
"Next, our keynote speaker today, Rep. Sam Whitson, is one of my favorite people for several reasons. Sam is the man who walks his talk. An honored American soldier, Colonel Whitson is a man of courage and honor who served our nation gallantly. He is a continually legacy of American valor, and lives it every day."
Now serving in the Tennessee House of Representatives, Whitson served in the United States Army from 1976 to 2002, serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army’s VII Corps during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Following Graham's comments, Summit High School student Isabelle Beard gave a performance of the National Anthem, followed by a performance of "America the Beautiful" by members of the Spring Hill Orchestra.
"Mayor Graham, Mayor Anderson, I am so proud to serve with you, and I appreciate your leadership that both of you provide for our county and the city of Spring Hill," Whitson said. "Like so many in the room today, I'm grateful we have the opportunity to celebrate Veterans Day — it's one of those holidays that unites all Americans who have taken a common oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic."
Whitson went on to recall what he considered to be one of his most cherished memories, when back in 1992, he was approaching the United States after having been deployed overseas for years.
"After five days at sea, I was so excited to see the United States in over that three years," Whitson recounted. "When I saw the first lights appear on the horizon, my first thoughts were about all those veterans of WWII, WWI, Korea and Vietnam who saw the same lights for the first time, and were so thankful and happy to make it home to family and the grateful nation they fought to defend. On that early morning in 1992, seeing America on the horizon for the first time after three years overseas, I always remembered what President Reagan told us: America is, and always will be, that shining city on the hill."