Two-year-old Isabelle Wright marched in place Friday morning at Rock Hill’s Glencairn Garden, mimicking the steps of members of a junior ROTC high school honor guard presenting the American flag and the flags of all five military branches.
She clapped and danced as a speaker system sounded each branch’s song.
Her grandfather, Steve Forsythe, was proud to show Isabelle a Veterans Day ceremony.
He was proud to be there, he said, to honor all veterans – whether they’d been in combat or not.
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Veterans such as his father, who served in the Navy during World War II.
Forsythe’s dad died at age 99, seven years ago. As a member of the Sons of the American Legion in Rock Hill, Forsythe honors his father’s service
He is one of about 100 members of the local chapter.
They’re the ones helping park cars at the American Legion lot across from Rock Hill’s District ThreeStadium on football Friday nights.
They’re the ones who want to support other local veterans groups and keep the memory of their fathers alive.
Sons of the American Legion is open to those men whose fathers and/or mothers served in the military. They meet the second Monday of every month at the American Legion Post 34 and Forsythe says, they’re always welcoming to new members who wish to apply.
On Friday, he and young Isabelle were among a crowd of more than 75 people who gathered at Glencairn Garden to remember those both living and dead who have served in the United States military.
Friday’s service in Rock Hill included veterans from all five U.S. military branches – the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy.
The veterans represented a range of years in service, military duties and jobs and many countries around the world where they served.
For some, Friday’s ceremony was one of many they’ve attended at Glencairn.
It was the first for one World War II veteran.
Karl Dixon was in the Army for three years, serving in France, Belgium and what was then Czechoslovakia.
After the war was declared over,
he was assigned to stand guard at the Nuremberg Trials in Germany.
The military tribunal series included those who were charged with crimes against humanity and crimes against peace. Many of the defendants were from Germany’s Nazi Party and military.
The Nuremberg Trials were controversial at the time the courts were convened. But, historians now consider the trials to have been a milestone in establishing international criminal law and an international court system.
Karl Dixon said Friday’s tribute to veterans such as himself was nice. He attended it with his son, Mike Dixon. They both live in Rock Hill.
It’s people such as Dixon that Steve Forsythe wanted to teach his granddaughter about on Friday.
On the drive to Glencairn Garden, he and Isabelle practiced saying the Pledge of Allegiance in the car so she could participate during the service.
Glencairn’s Veterans Garden is a permanent memorial space, honoring past, current and future service members.
It’s a meaningful place to so many who need somewhere to “sit and meditate,” said Ken Hood, the honor guard captain at Rock Hill’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2889.
“We do not want to forget those that we served with,” he said. “We do not want to forget our veterans.”
In partnership with the city of Rock Hill, the VFW Post 2889 and American Legion Post 34 established Glencairn’s veteran memorial.
Hood, who served in Vietnam, said Friday’s event offered something extra to him.
“I came from a time where there was no ‘thank you,’” he said.
“And days like this is my welcome home. Thank you for welcoming me home.”
Reach Douglas at (803) 329-4068.