Jindal honors parish veterans

Charlotte Guedry
Frank Brow Jr., who served in the military from 1942 until 1946, said the ceremony was "a wonderful moment."

Veterans and their friends and families arrived by the hundreds on Monday to welcome local and state officials as they honored parish veterans.

State Rep. Mert Smiley, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Adjutant General Bennett Landreneau joined Gov. Bobby Jindal as he spoke to veterans and handed out honor medals.

Jindal spoke of the high esteem he has for the areas veterans, by calling them “the finest men and women you’ll ever meet anywhere.”

He went on to say that with all of the in-fighting between political parties at the moment, it is easy to become disheartened by the state of affairs in America. “It’s not uncommon to be pessimistic about the nation at the moment, but one look at these honored veterans is a reminder of how grateful we are to live in this great nation called America,” he said.

The theme of the event was one of courage, with Jindal making repeated remarks about the trait. “Being a soldier takes rare men and women who represent the greatest human trait, that of courage,” he said.

“Winston Churchill said that courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others. Our veterans are bound together by their love of country, their honor, and their courage.”

Jindal reminded the audience that saying ‘thank you’ is a simple act.

“Today is about saying thank you,” he said. “Nowadays, people would rather read stories about celebrities than these men and women sitting here. These people deserve to have their stories told. We need to remember that it is never too late to say thank you.”

Jindal touched upon recent events in Arizona, stating that “figures in public office need to remain accessible.”

Arceneaux agreed with that statement, but also noted that the current mood is one of concern. “It certainly is important that we are accessible. The people have put us in office, so we have a responsibiliy to be readily available to them,” he said. “That being said, it is a real shame that we now have to worry about situations such as Arizona, and get to the point of securing public spaces and thinking about personal security.”

Arceneaux went on to say that he will “continue to remain open to my constituents.”

The Veterans Honor Medal ceremony also saw members of the Donaldsonville High School Junior ROTC in the forms of both their choral group and their Color Guard. The choir sang the National Anthem, while the Color Guard performed the duties of rbinging in both the state and national flags.

As the event came to a close, Jindal reminded those in attendance to “remember those who have fallen, and respect those who have fought and those who continue to fight for us.”