KSLA Salutes: Honoring our veterans during a pandemic

KSLA Salutes: Veterans Celebration Committee

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — 2020 marks the ninth year since the Veterans Celebration Committee was created.

“We’ve got support from East Texas, Southern Arkansas, Western Mississippi and throughout the state of Louisiana,” said Kenneth Epperson Sr, the panel’s chairman.

“But with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to change the way we do things. However, we still move forward and make sure we have a footprint as to our golden mission of remembering and honoring our veterans.”

With concerns that COVID-19 would impact our area’s veterans, the committee had to make a few adjustments to its plans for this year. For their Veterans Week announcement, committee members used Zoom instead of making the proclamation in person like last year.

“We did our joint proclamation with Bossier Parish, Bossier City, Shreveport, Caddo Parish, DeSoto Parish and the town of Greenwood virtually,” Epperson explained. “The mayors from each of the towns were on the meeting. And we signed a joint proclamation declaring Nov. 5-11 as Veterans Celebration Week.

“We never missed a beat. We always found a way to do what was necessary to honor and recognize our veterans.”

Banners and flags were still displayed throughout the ArkLaTex.

The State Fair of Louisiana was postponed this year, which meant the veterans parade and honor ceremony, the largest in the state, also was delayed.

The committee still wanted to make sure the area’s veterans don’t feel forgotten.

“This year, with us being locked down on the pandemic, we had some special yellow signs made up that we placed around the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Home where the residents could look out of the window and see those signs honoring them this year,” Epperson said. “We also gave the residents and staff masks. The reason is because we want everyone to realize how important it is to wear your mask. Please wear your mask to protect our military and veterans.”

Epperson admits that it’s been tough.

“It’s been a little hard on us, but we are military,” he said. “When we have a mission to do, we are going to find a way to do it. We are going to go under it, over it, around it or through it; and this we will get through, too.”

Epperson said although we cannot get together like we used to at this time, there is a way we all can honor our veterans.

“We can help by wearing those masks,” he said. “Make sure you wear those masks, follow all the COVID-19 protocols, the CDC guidelines, let’s make sure that we social distance. Let’s respect our military, our veterans, as well as our fellow citizens because this is a serious thing. So if we all do this, I think we can look forward to 2021 where we can all meet in person again and once again have a grand celebration for our military and veterans for their sacrifices.”

The Veterans Celebration Committee looks forward to celebrating 10 years of the panel’s goal to salute our ArkLaTex veterans, he said.

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