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Family celebrates veterans

Despite the cold temperature, family gathered in the Waters-Johnson Cemetery to celebrate Veterans Day.

Many members of the Waters and Johnson families, alive and dead, were members of the Armed Forces, and many are buried in their family cemetery.

Joseph Johnson invited members of the American Legion Post 57 — the Rev. Isaac Baker and Past Cdr. Joe Garlitz — to the commemorate the event at the family’s cemetery on Kings Fork Road on Monday afternoon. Johnson is also a member of the American Legion and an Air Force veteran.

Baker gave a brief history of U.S. wars and the involvement of African-American soldiers.

“You may be gone but not forgotten. We won’t forget, so rest in peace,” Baker said. “Truly and surely you have fought the good fight. You give a new meaning to sacrifice.”

Garlitz shared the story of the American Legion and its importance to the city of Suffolk as he addressed the family.

“Officers joined together to create the American Legion. They did this to perpetuate and preserve the relationships made in the military,” Garlitz said. “They were still feeling the wounds from the Civil War, and this brings the country together.”

Post 57 in Suffolk was founded June 8, 1926, just seven years after the national organization was founded. Garlitz explained how the local group benefits the city and its citizens.

The American Legion Post 57 provides scholarships for students in the area, sponsors young boys for a trip, holds veteran recognition ceremonies and more.

“Post 57 is a large patriotic community service organization,” Garlitz said.

The family ended the ceremony by asking the younger members to keep the tradition alive, including the Veterans Day ceremony, and keep the cemetery clean.

“This family thing, we need to keep it like this,” Johnson said.