By Amanda McBride
The Choctaw Plaindealer
“To veterans today, thank you for what you have done for us and future generations yet to be born,” said Fifth Circuit Court Judge Joseph H. Loper.
Judge Loper served as the guest speaker during the annual Veteran’s Day program in Ackerman.
He said in today’s world we glamorize movie stars, musicians and sports idols but seem to forget about the contributions of our veterans that are still here.
“They are the real American heroes,” said Loper.
He reminded the crowd of Choctaw County High School students and approximately 75 veterans and family members that our freedoms are not free.
“In peace time and in war, our veterans have answered the call of duty. Because of this we have freedom of….”
Judge Loper described the freedoms Americans enjoy due to the fight and sacrifices of our veterans.
He then mentioned that Choctaw County has had 46 men die in battle.
“Choctaw County has had 46 men lost in war, in the prime of their life, not much older than many of you students,” said Loper to the students in the audience.
“The torch of freedom will soon be in your hands.”
Judge Loper ended his speech by telling students one of the greatest weapons will “soon be at your disposal,” the right to vote.
“Don’t squander this right to vote,” said Judge Loper.
Judge Loper is a lifelong resident of Ackerman and a graduate of Ackerman High School. He said he was proud to be back on campus, which is now Choctaw County High School.
“The knowledge I acquired here is still with me today,” said Loper.
Judge Loper is also a graduate of Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi Law School. He has practiced law for many years and has also served as the Mayor of Ackerman from 1989-1993. Loper was appointed to be the Fifth Circuit Court Judge in 1993 and has since been elected to this position five times.
The Fifth Circuit Court serves Attala, Carroll, Choctaw, Grenada, Montgomery, Webster and Winston Counties.
Also during the annual Veteran’s Day Program, VFW Post 5569-Ackerman Commander Tony Ballard served as master of ceremonies and Chaplain Paul Holly led everyone in prayer.
Ballard also thanked Choctaw County High School Principal Shane Burton, Superintendent Glen Beard and CCSD Technical Support Stan Lester for their assistance and allowing the VFW to host the program at the Ty Cobb Complex.