Linda K. Ballard

His goal was to pay as much honor and respect on Veterans Day as he possibly could and it started with a ceremony and tour held at the American Freedom Museum in Bullard.

Republic Services Manager of Government Affairs and Kilgoriete Gene Keenon said, “The museum was amazing; I highly recommend it for everyone. It had artifacts and memorabilia, uniforms and flags from the American Revolution to Iran and Afghanistan. I certainly appreciate the sacrifices our men and women made for us to have the freedoms we have today.

“I don’t want our youth to forget and not understand the history behind the sacrifices and the wars. How we take for granted things we have in day to day living like waking up with electricity and not having to worry about bombs going off outside of our homes. What took place and what had to be done; how these men and women fought oppressors for us to have these freedoms and to enjoy life as we know it.

“Yes, I highly recommend see the museum; it is not that far from us and would make an excellent day trip. Be sure to plan on spending two to three hours – you will be glad you did.”

The museum is located on the campus of the Brook Hill School. Their mission is to honor American veterans and military personnel, to educate and to inspire. It is located at 1051 N. Houston Street. The museum is open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The remainder of the week is by appointment only.

Gene’s second stop for the day was at Tempest Golf Course to partake in a Veterans ceremony and the dedication and raising of the U.S. flag. The flag was so large it took 30 veterans to carry onto the field and is now deemed the largest flag in East Texas and possibly the state. You will read more about it in other areas of the News Herald today, and see it on the front page.

The towns all across the nation attempted to pull out the red carpet for our veterans. Like many families, I too have family that has served in the military, two of which are U.S. Marines: my brother, Frank Kuykendall, a Purple Heart recipient and other medals of valor served in Vietnam, and my grandson, Jonathan Michael, who served in Japan two years of his service and called to remind me he had been to Iwo Jima on Mount Suribachi during a month-long deployment to South Korea.

Once a year, he learned, Japanese and American veterans arrive in recognition of the day and ceremony takes place again, with the raising of the flag. Having stood in that spot is something he will never forget, he informed me.

Both of them still watch out for their “brothers” and there is no telling how many packages have been sent out to those who are away from home. So, proud to be an American, you bet we are. Proud of those who served and continue to serve, you bet we are. Thank you one and all.

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Speaking of service, Melissa Azzam, Kilgore’s liaison for Hooray for Heroes – Adopt A Cop informs us that all 38 Kilgore police officers have been adopted by individuals and/or businesses.

She said, “It was awesome. They were all adopted in a short length of time. Now, we have an overflow of those wanting to “adopt” so we will next go to the fire stations. “

Julie Brogoitti Woods also managed to get the Longview Police officers adopted out in a short period of time. To learn more about the programs you can call Melissa at (903) 984-6250.

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Has she bit off more than she can chew?

Kim Pollard, owner of Josie Wales Antiques & More, has offered to buy 30 needy children toys for Christmas. Thanks to a Good Samaritan that has helped by donating to the cause, she believes it will happen.

She said, “It was going to be tough fitting it into my budget, but it is something I really wanted to try to do.” The list of the children was almost full at the time of this printing. I sure hope she got my name added to the list.

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Kilgore is the place to be for shopping and fun through the holidays. Don’t forget the “A Very Derrick Christmas,” the derrick lighting, today, beginning at 3 p.m., performances at 5:45 p.m. and the lighting around 7. Vendors will be found nearby. Our section inside today, Shop Local, focuses on that, on pages 3B through 6B.

On Sunday afternoon, two vendor events will be taking place on opposite sides of the town. One will be held at Tempest Golf Resort called Babes supporting Babes offering girls an afternoon of shopping, while others attend the annual Clements Barn Christmas festival of vendors. It starts after church according to Sue Clements and last “until 5 p.m. or the sun goes down.”

Amazing Grace Floral is planning a “one-of-a-kind” open house on November 20 and a grand opening is taking place for Hair Care & More, located at 822 E. Main Street (Inside MLS Boutique). The grand opening will be start at 9 a.m, on Saturday, November 21.

Also, Boonies Restaurant in downtown Kilgore opened on Tuesday and say the “going is good.” They are open from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. all seven days a week. Just look for the wagon.

There is so much more to come in the days ahead. In the meantime, may His love and laughter fill your hearts and your homes throughout the week. We may be reached at (903) 984-2593 or chitchatlinda@aol.com.

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