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Speaker reminds citizens that veterans protected freedoms
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Brig. Gen. Robert Tucker spoke Sunday at the Veterans Day program at Bassett High School. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Americans must remember that veterans are responsible for maintaining the nation’s freedoms, a brigadier general told a local audience Sunday.

Big. Gen. Robert L. Tucker Jr. spoke at the Veterans Day program at Bassett High School. About 85 people attended the event.

Tucker said he is from Mecklenburg County and enjoys traveling around Southside talking about the importance of veterans in preserving American freedoms. He urged students in the audience to look at the veterans present and realize that they stood up against Nazis, Communists and others so that youth would have the right to protest, along with other rights.

Some service men and women left their homes seeking adventure and were met with the horrors of war, he said, adding, “they realized freedom does not come free. It takes all persons, regardless of color, to make a defending force.”

Americans owe veterans “a debt we can never repay,” Tucker said.

Veterans are different from other people in only one way, he said. “They said yes” and did their duty to God and country.

Tucker also urged those present to remember and continue to seek an accounting of service men and women who are prisoners of war and missing in action. The nation has an obligation to account for them, he added.

Tucker joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1972 as an enlisted soldier and was commissioned through the guard’s Officer Candidate Program in 1979. He served in company- and brigade-level command positions.

In 2003 he served as a liaison between the Air Force and Army, responsible for providing security for air bases across the U.S., under Operation Noble Eagle. Tucker served in Afghanistan and commanded the 54th Field Artillery Brigade in Virginia, and his last command as director of interagency operations for the Virginia National Guard.

He has numerous medals and ribbons from his military service; is a member of the VFW in Chase City; and now works as an energy management specialist with the Mecklenburg County Public Schools in Boydton.

Others involved in Sunday’s program were the Bassett High School JROTC and cadet commander; Fran Priddy, who sang the National Anthem; Joseph Ellison Jr., who placed the POW/MIA Flag for a special remembrance presented by the AMVETS Auxiliary; Jeff Evans, who gave the invocation; Herman Chaney, who introduced Tucker; and Ken Cleveland, who gave the benediction. The AMVETS provided refreshments afterward.

Also during the program, Marc Thomas, commander of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 52, presented a certificate of appreciation to the Bassett JROTC for its participation in veterans’ programs over the years.


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