Photo: Presentation of colors at Friday’s Veterans Day Appreciation Luncheon in Southaven. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
DeSoto County’s sheriff-elect painted a stark picture of what people in uniform face in today’s society, while reminding those in attendance at Friday’s Veterans Appreciation Luncheon in Southaven to respect and honor veterans.
Thomas Tuggle spoke to a room full of veterans and others at the annual luncheon held inside the Southaven Safe Room, located next to the Southaven Arena.
Tuggle, a former Marine who moved from police work to become the director of the MIssissippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy, retired in April 2022 to begin a campaign for DeSoto County sheriff.
He won election in the August Republican primary and was unopposed in the November general election.
Tuggle said the debt owed to veterans cannot be fully repaid, but they are owed our respect.
“Let us commit to provide them the resources they need to transition back into civilian life, to access quality healthcare to receive the proper recognition and appreciation,” Tuggle said. “Through gratitude, support and commitment to upholding the values they fought to protect, we can ensure their sacrifices are never forgotten.”
Respect is something not being taught to today’s generation, however, said Tuggle, adding servicemen and women must be respected for what they did for the country.
“If they fear criticism, we must remind them that the lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinions of the sheep,” Tuggle said.
At the same time, the sheriff-elect said society is painting an alarming picture of what those in military service represent.
“An actor dying of a drug overdose is all over the news, but a soldier dying to protect our freedom? You never hear about it,” Tuggle said. “I had troops reporting for training who could tell me Kim Kardashian’s measurements and the importance of being a Swiftie, but had no clue what uniform our service members wear.”
He also said special interest groups have made law enforcement and the military a target, comparing political correctness to a virus, and warned, “If not treated, this new generation’s exposure to Tik Tok viruses will destroy our military force’s current readiness. The solution is a vaccine. That vaccine is called courage.”
Other dignitaries and officials in attendance at the Friday luncheon included newly-elected state Rep. Rodney Hall, also a veteran who said he was grateful for Southaven’s commitment to celebrating veterans with Friday’s luncheon.
“The 2023 Annual Veterans Day Appreciation Luncheon stands as a testament to the unwavering support fostered by the Mayor and the city of Southaven, creating an environment that honors and uplifts our cherished veterans community,” Hall said. “Their sacrifice must not go unnoticed.”
Hall is an Army Veteran and Major in the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, Mississippi Army National Guard. He’s an Airborne Ranger and Infantry Officer with nearly 20 years of service.
The luncheon featured the presentation of colors by the Southaven Fire Department’s Honor Guard, the National Anthem and musical selections by Army Major Sheri Ledford and Marty Hopkins, and a musical salute to each branch of the Armed Services represented in attendance.