Chilly temps didn't stop about 60 employees, patients, and guests from paying their respects at Herrin Hospital's Veterans' program Friday morning.
According to hospital administrator Kathy Cerutti, the program originated four years ago. "One of our employees came up and asked why we didn't do anything for Veterans' Day," she said.
Cerutti said her answer was simple. "I told him I didn't know but that was a good question."
Cerutti met with her boss and got the go-ahead to put something together. The program has grown each year.
Each year the reveille is sounded to signal the beginning of the program. Johnston City native and bagpiper Les Lannom has been part of the program since the beginning. This year's program featured Lannom piping and singing "Lay Me Doone," or "Sgt. McKenzie," written by Joseph McKenzie in memory of his great-grandfather, a World War I veteran with the Seaforth Highlanders.
Hospital employees filled out the remainder of the program. Lisa Pulley read the Veterans' Prayer followed by a flag-raising ceremony performed by hospital security staffers John Smart and Jairamy Loyd.
Those attending sang the National Anthem followed by Lannom's piping rendition of "Amazing Grace."
Physical therapist Laura Roach was pleased with the event. "This is my first year to be involved," she said. "I do think it's really nice that the hospital takes time out to honor our Veterans and show support for those who deserve it the most."
Along with the program, the hospital displays posters honoring Veterans. "Those have been up for about two weeks," said Cerutti, noting that staff also handed out flags and flag pins during the event.
The hospital also provides a free meal to any Veteran on Veterans' Day.
Cerutti said the hospital plans to continue the event. "I think it's very important in the environment we live in now to recognize people who put their lives on the line daily for our freedom," she said.
"They need to be recognized for that."