Lest Not Forget

Veterans who served in military duty in protecting the United States were honored at Louisiana Square Park on Friday for Memorial Day.

The American Legion and VFW Post 3766 of Donaldsonville wanted to make sure Memorial Day hasn’t become just another barbecuing holiday. On Friday, May 23 a day of remembrance and honor was celebrated at Louisiana Square Park.

With help from the Donaldsonville High School Air Force JROTC and the Ascension Catholic School, the younger and older generations of the community came together to pay tribute.

Donaldsonville City Council Chairman Raymond Aucoin said every time he comes to Louisiana Square Park, he reads the names of Donaldsonville troops who gave up their lives protecting the United States.

“On behalf of the mayor and the city council we want to do our part in honoring our fallen heroes,” Aucoin said. “And as well as the veterans who certainly proudly served this country and risked their lives all to be able to assure that we have the freedoms that we have today.”

Several parish officials and leaders attended the celebration and had a moment to say a few words about what Memorial Day mean to them. Jason Verdigets, Felony Prosecutor with the 23rd Judicial Attorney’s Office, brought his 10-year-old son out to the event to teach him the real meaning of the Memorial Day.

“I want him to start to understand what this is about, this isn’t just a time to be out of school there is more meaning to it and I hope he’s getting a good appreciation today,” Verdigets said.

Verdigets said to the veterans in attendance, “thank you.” He said his grandfather fought in World War II as an officer in the Marines and “this was always a special holiday for our family.”

“He recently passed and this is our first one without him so this is bitter-sweet for me but he instilled in us what it meant outside of his family was the most important thing to him and he always made sure we understood what that service meant and I do appreciate everyone’s service,” Verdigets said.

Tanya Whitney, U.S. Army Veteran and Chairman of the Ascension Veteran’s Association, said Memorial Day is only just becoming a celebration of those who gave all to her.

“Even myself when I was on active duty, Memorial Day we’d go out to the beach and have barbecue,” Whitney said, who retired in 2010.

Whitney said she has lost 12 people in War that she knew personally in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“So this day means a lot more to me now than it did 10 to 15 years ago,” Whitney said. “I challenge each and every one of you to ensure that your children, neighbors, family and people you work with who really don’t understand what today is all about, talk to them about Memorial Day to reinforce what the gifts these men and women gave to us today and what it really means.”