Murfreesboro Veterans Day (full audio)

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Event founder Elsie Stem (L) receives flowers in 2012 from the new Veterans Day Director Myra Simons.
(L-R) County Commissioner Pettus Read and City Councilman Eddie Smotherman
Murfreesboro City Councilman Eddie Smotherman
Retired USAF Major Rick Womick served as emcee
Sophia Scheel sang the National Anthem and God Bless America
Wendell Burnette (US Navy Beruit) reads the POW/MIA resolution
Mrs. Griffin places the POW/MIA drape
Guest speaker Major General William Hickman (right) and his wife Mayme just moved to Murfreesboro, his wife's hometown. The major is from Columbia.
2020 Veterans Day Director Barb Pitto (left) talks with area veterans
(L-R) Wendell Burnette, Mrs. Griffin, Myra Simons, and Andrew Farrer
John Calfee
Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron
Major General William Hickman
Reading the Memorial List of local veterans (L-R) Cadet 1st Lt. Micaiah Williams and Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Emerson Garfield, Murfreesboro CAP.
Veterans Day Director Mya Simons receives flowers from 2020 Director Barb Pitto.

(MURFREESBORO) The annual 2019 Murfreesboro Veterans Day program was held the 11th hour, 11th day and 11th month in the historic second floor courtroom of the Rutherford County Courthouse. New Murfreesboro resident Major General William Hickman, who retired from the U.S. Army ten days ago, was the guest speaker.

Here is a recording of the entire presentation:


Hickman completed 36-years of service on November 1, 2019. His last assignmnt was the director of Strategic Plans and Policy for the NATO Allied Transformation Command in Norfolk, Virginia.

His wife, Mayme, is from Murfreesboro, and Major General Hickman is from Columbia. They have one daughter, Elzabeth, a senion at the University of Tennessee.


Retired USAF Major Rick Womick served as emcee of Murfreesboro's Veterans Day Memorial Service.


(MURFREESBORO) The Tribute To Veterans was again on the Murfreesboro town square, but this year a new tradition of holding it inside the historic second floor courtroom will begin. It begins at 11:00AM this Monday inside the Rutherford County Courthouse.

Director Myra Simons said, "We never know if it's going to be raining or bitterly cold, so it makes sense to put the tribute inside where it will always be comfortable and warm."

2019 is the twenty-fourth consecutive Veterans Day Tribute on the Murfreesboro square, and WGNS is proud to have broadcast all of them.

Simons noted, "This will be a truly inspiring uplifting event that will lift your heart in patriotism and love of country. Please spread the word and let's celebrate our veterans together this year."

Veterans Day originally was known as Armistice Day and honored the end of World War I on November 11, 1918.

However, in 1954 the 83rd U.S. Congress, at the urging of veterans groups, expanded the original World War I tribute to now include, World War II, Korea and all American veterans from any era. The Act of 1938 was amended by striking the word "Armistice" and inserting "Veterans" Day. On June 1, 1954, "the eleventh hour, eleventh day, on the eleventh month", became "Veterans Day"--a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

If you recall, for a brief period, in 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill, firmed special dates and allowed federal employees to enjoy three-day weekends. That moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday of October.

However, after a few years--it was felt that the significance of honoring veterans was weakened, so on September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a law that returned Veterans Day to November 11th.

Guest Speaker

The guest speaker at Monday's Veterans Day Tribute is Maj. Gen. William B. Hickman. He completed 36 years of service, retiring just 10-days ago on November 1, 2019. His last assignment was the Director, Strategic Plans and Policy for the NATO Allied Transformation Command in Norfolk, VA.

His previous staff assignments included Executive Officer to the Commander, International Security Assistance Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan and Executive Officer to the Commander, United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.


The master of ceremonies for the 2019 Veterans Day Tribute is Major Rick Womick, US Air Force, 24 years retired, F-15 Fighter Pilot and Instructor.

If you are unable to attend, tune to WGNS (AM 1450, FM 100.5, FM 101.9 and worldwide at

Passing Of The Baton

Myra Simons has faithfully and patriotically coordinated Murfreesboro's Veterans Day Tribute since Elsie Stem did the same in earlier years.

Elsie Stem started the Murfreesboro Tribute To Veterans program in 1996, and the 11/11/2019 program is number 24 in the series. Elsie's beloved husband, Willie Stem, was a veteran and she did an excellent job for all those years through 2011. At that time, she turned the program over to a new Director Myra Simons. Both Willie Stem (1/1/2012) and Elsie (11/21/2013) have since passed away.

Simons continued the tradition and brought things into the high-tech era with a website and other innovations.

For more information about the local Veterans Day Tribute, visit their website:

Read more from:
2019, Barb Pitto, Elsie Stem, Murfreesboro, Myra Simons, Veterans Day, WGNS
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