MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach honored veterans Thursday with a ceremony at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
Mark Kruea, spokesperson for the City of Myrtle Beach, said the city has a long military history that dates back nearly 80 years with the city’s former Air Force Base.
“This, if my math is correct, the 103rd anniversary of Veterans Day which began, as Woody said, Armistice Day,” Kruea said.
Dozens of veterans were in attendance for the ceremony. Veterans who served in different conflicts, from the Korean War onward, were asked to stand to receive recognition. Thursday’s ceremony was the first without a veteran from the Second World War, according to Kruea.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said she is thankful for veterans, adding that those who served are owed a debt that can’t be repaid.
“Even though Veterans Day is designated as a holiday to thank and honor all who served and answered the call of duty, merely saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough,” Bethune said.
Retired Colonel Liz Litvin served in the United States Army and was Thursday’s keynote speaker. Litvin emphasized that service doesn’t end with retirement, as many veterans go to work in the community and also pick up volunteer work.
“Not every veteran wears a service ribbon ballcap, and not every veteran served during a time of conflict, and not every veteran lives with a combat injury, but every veteran served their country when others could not or would not,” Litvin said.
Litvin said service has played a large role in her life, adding that her husband is also a veteran.
“We are veterans 365 days of the year, and we’re ready to serve with resiliency, flexibility and fun,” Litvin said.
Cameron Viebrock gave Thursday’s closing remarks. It was his 17th time speaking at the annual ceremony.
“Certainly we cannot all do what they have done except to guarantee that what they defend is worth defending,” Viebrock said.
Pete Strother served in the Army for roughly two decades, and he said Thursday’s ceremony was “moving.”
“There was a lump in my throat a couple of times because it’s rare these days that you see veterans being celebrated–even remembered,” Strother said.
David Maxwell joined the Army as a teenager and said it was the best decision of his life. Maxwell said ceremonies like Thursday’s are about bringing people together.
“This ceremony makes it to where we can teach,” Maxwell said. “Where we can remember, bring everything back to some of the worst times that we’ve had but also remember that we are a positive nation, and we are a resilient nation, and we can always overcome.”
Watch the entire ceremony below.