RESERVE — To be born free is a stroke of luck, to live free is a privilege and to die free is a responsibility.
That was the message of retired Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré at Thursday’s ninth annual St. John the Baptist Parish Veterans Luncheon.
Hosted by Parish President Natalie Robottom and the Parish Council, this year’s luncheon theme was “Saluting the Price of Freedom.”
Over 400 veterans and guests attended the luncheon, which was held at the Louisiana National Guard Readiness Center in Reserve.
Robottom opened the luncheon before a slideshow of submitted St. John Parish war heroes’ photos were shown.
“Today we pay tribute to you — our heroes,” Robottom told the crowd. “Thank you for your dedicated service to the greatest country in the world.”
Honoré addressed the crowd and also thanked the veterans in attendance for their service.
He said to born into a free country is simply the luck of an infant, but is a privilege no one should take for granted.
“Think about how hard the first batch of veterans had it,” Honoré said. “They fought for the promise of freedom.”
America’s freedom “has been paid for by previous generations,” he said. “To die free is a responsibility. We must pass it along.”
Event sponsors and participants included Dr. Billy St. Martin, Louisiana Philharmonic Brass Quintet, Reed Alexander, Pepsi, Rotary Club of LaPlace, Steve Nelson, St. John Parish’s Recreation Department and summer campers and the St. John Parish Sheriff Office’s Young Marines.