The city of Jackson hosted its annual Veterans Day ceremony Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park.

The guest speaker for the event was retired Brig. Gen. Stewart Rodeheaver, a 38-year veteran whose tours included Central America, North Africa and the Middle East, including a three-year command tour of Task Force Lightning where he commanded all U.S. and Coalition forces in southern Iraq. While in Iraq he commanded 50% of the city of Baghdad and all of southern Iraq, including the Triangle of Death and the Syrian border. The general has been awarded the Legion of Merit Medal five times, Bronze Star with “V” device, Meritorious Service Medal five times, Army Commendation Medal seven times and numerous other awards.

During his remarks, Rodeheaver spoke of thanking veterans by continuing to live as Americans in a way that makes them proud to have served and sacrificed.

“I made a difference in a lot of places. I made the world safer, I made the world easier, I helped make the world more fun, I helped make the world just a little bit kinder every day. And that’s what veterans do,” Rodeheaver said. “President Reagan said one time most people go through life and at the end of their life wonder if they made a difference. Veterans don’t have to ask that because they know that they made a difference.”

Jackson’s Veterans Day program also included a performance of the national anthem by Jackson High School Assistant Principal Dr. Sohmer McKibben, and a presentation of colors by the Jackson High School NJROTC color guard.

During each year’s Veterans Day program at the park, officials unveil new plaques added to the park to honor local veterans. Jennie Boyd read the new names aloud during the ceremony.

Stanley Maddox read the wall inscribed with the names of locals killed in action, from World War I to the War on Terror.

Jackson Mayor Kay Pippin welcomed the crowd to the ceremony. Local attorney Byrd Garland offered the prayer dedication.

Veteran Charlie Thaxton placed the memorial wreath at the casualty wall before taps was played to close the ceremony.