The Greater Ashland Beacon
LEGACY! It is such a powerful word with so much meaning. Legacy is not leaving something behind for people, but rather legacy is more about what you leave inside of people. Every person has a legacy to share with others. You may not know what your impact is. You may never have a song or a book written about you and your legacy, but every person can leave an everlasting impact on this world. What better day to celebrate legacies than Veterans Day? On Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, Steen Funeral Home put on its 22nd Annual Veterans Appreciation Luncheon, at the Ashland Elks Lodge 350 BPOE. “We are so proud and so honored by all our veterans and it’s so important for us all to come together and celebrate everything that they have done for us and this great country. We are thrilled for many people to be here honoring our veterans with us today,” shared Brian Binion, Managing Partner at Steen Funeral Home.
The well-thought-out tribute began with the presentation of colors brought to you by the Greenup County High School JROTC program. Boyd County Sophomore Sydney Ramey took to the stage with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold as you looked around the room all you could see was respect, not only for our country but respect for all the veterans that were present at the luncheon and for all the veterans across the United States. Retired Command Sgt. Major Paul Royster led this beautiful tribute, “Veterans Day, unlike that of Memorial Day, is a day of celebration! It is to celebrate you and me! It is to celebrate the veterans of the United States. Veterans Day is for us and who is us? At any given time only 1% of this nation is serving. Think about that for a minute. If you total all the veterans up, we only make up about 7% of the population. So, we are kind of an anomaly. We are not the norm. Veterans Day is for all of us veterans that have served in this country and those that are still currently serving. Every veteran has a legacy that means something to someone whether they know your legacy by name. The fact that you served, the fact that you went to places that no one else wanted to go, and even if you are a veteran that didn’t go out of the country or anywhere… your time matters! It matters that every one of you has served. Your legacy is important, and our flag is important. The flag itself is nothing more than thread and cloth. It’s not what that flag is made up of that matters. It’s what that flag stands for that means something. I never understood just what that flag meant to me until I had to walk down that C-10 and kneel and put my hand on a flag-draped casket and send it home. That flag means something different to me now than it did before that day. That flag is a legacy. It represents all our legacies. As veterans, your legacy matters. How you carry yourself today matters. We still work for one flag, not two political parties. We serve one country. As a veteran I want you to understand that what you have done and what you do… matters! Your legacy matters! You matter! You matter to me! You matter to everyone here and you matter to that twelve-year-old boy over there,” added Royster.
That twelve-year-old boy holds a very special place in the heart of retired Command Sgt. Major Royster that twelve-year-old boy just happened to be his grandson, Barron Royster. Young Barron is not your typical twelve-year-old boy. Whereas most boys Barron’s age are into collecting things such as comic books, ball cards, or other memorabilia. Young Barron has a unique collection of military legacies from all-around. Barron’s private collection of military memorabilia was on display during the Veterans Luncheon and what an impressive collection it was. His collection wrapped around the room on display for all to enjoy. It is important to realize that every item on display wasn’t simply a mere piece of history. Every item on display had a meaning, a story behind it had a legacy attached to it and young Barron understood the importance of that and has made it his mission to collect and share as many legacies as he can get his hands on. Over the last two years, young Barron has gone around collecting military artifacts that represent all branches of the armed forces. Young Barron shared with the Beacon that, “Veterans Day is a day to honor those that have served our country. It’s a day to remember what others have done for us to have the freedoms and rights that we have today. We must celebrate it.” Retired Command Sgt. Major Royster couldn’t have said it any better than when he said, “I know in today’s times that we don’t always understand the youth of today, but they are our future. What you do in front of them, what you show them, and you how to talk about your service in front of them… it matters!”