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United on Veterans Day

In Hernando County, dozens of people gathered Monday at the Salishan retirement community in Spring Hill to honor 19 veterans, including 17 who served during World War II.

Despite their various ailments, each of the aging veterans walked to the front of the crowd during the brief ceremony to receive a pin recognizing their service as well as a certificate of appreciation.

Martha P. Morris, 89, was the lone woman among the veterans.

Serving as a teletypist with the Navy from 1944 to 1945, Morris relayed coded messages from her station at a naval base in California.

"I worked around the clock sending coded messages from the ships to Washington, D.C.," she said. "It was strenuous. It had to be exact — you can't make a mistake sending those kinds of messages."

Sherry Whitford, a volunteer with HPH Hospice, which put on the ceremony, said it was important that all veterans are honored.

"You will never be forgotten," she told the gathering.

Elsewhere, the Jersey Cafe in Spring Hill gave away free meals for all military personnel and their spouses, both active and retired.

"You have to give from the heart, not the bottom line," restaurant owner Joe Cuce said, explaining why he decided to recognize veterans.

United on Veterans Day 11/11/13 [Last modified: Monday, November 11, 2013 11:06pm]
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