Hospital honors veterans

Published 8:21 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Riverside Medical Center in Franklinton celebrated Veterans Day a little early this year, as the hospital recently dedicated a new U.S. flag and honored those who have fought for their country.

The Veterans Day flag dedication ceremony was held Tuesday morning at 10 a.m., in front of the hospital building. Members of the Franklinton High School JROTC team raised the flag, which was purchased by State Sen. Ben Nevers, and presented and dedicated by the Bogalusa Lions Club.

Dr. Kyle Magee, the CEO of Riverside Medical Center, expressed his appreciation to the veterans present for the ceremony.

“This is probably one of the best things I have gotten to do since coming to the hospital,” Magee said. “In medicine, we believe that we have a calling to save lives. I think that you (veterans) have an even higher calling.”

Jim Adams, president of the Bogalusa Lions Club, spoke about some of the club’s programs and community projects, which includes presenting new flags.

“This is our chance to say thank you to those who have given of themselves, so that we can be here today,” Adams said.

Nevers noted that the flag presented Tuesday previously flew over the State Capitol building in Baton Rouge, on May 11.

“I brought it here today to fly high and free, to exhibit the sacrifices made and the sacrifices that will be made,” he said. “There’s not a better thing than I could spend a few dollars on than flags.”

Nevers said that he comes from a family with a strong military background. His father served in the U.S. Army for 27 years, including spending some time as a lieutenant overseeing “Buffalo Soldiers.” Nevers explained that meant his father was a white officer in charge of an all African-American regiment.

“My dad said, ‘I had men die in my arms — African-American men. And their blood was not any different from mine or yours,’” Nevers said. “That message stayed with me for a long time.”

After the flag was raised, Claire McGuire, chairwoman of the Riverside Foundation, led the pledge of allegiance. Next was a benediction by the Rev. Paul Course, chaplain of the American Legion Magic City Post 24 and the playing of “Taps.”

At the end of Taps, post members performed a 21-gun salute.

“If that doesn’t move you, then there’s not much in this world that will move you,” Magee said, at the conclusion of the ceremony.