Honoring veterans is essential for a Pine Bluff couple remembering Veterans Day.
“I am a product of World War I,” Barbara Rhinehart said. “My father and my grandfather served in the same unit in France. They were in the 131st Infantry, 33rd Division of the Illinois National Guard. My grandfather served as a chaplain and earned a Silver Star.”
Nationally Veterans Day is Sunday, however businesses and other agencies will observe the holiday Monday.
“How many chaplains have you heard of who’ve won the Silver Star?” she asked rhetorically with a smile in her voice.
For Rhinehart and her husband, Robert Rhinehart, Veterans Day is full of meaning.
“It’s Armistice Day to me even though it’s Veterans Day to everyone else,” Barbara Rhinehart said. “I was raised on the American Legion and married a World War II vet. My family would spend every Armistice Day at the American Legion. My father was a bandsman in American Legion bands. Everything that pertains to veterans is in a way part of my life.”
“At the American Legion post we have veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, and from Iraq and Afghanistan,” she said. “We should remember them all.”
Robert Rhinehart said that his service in Germany came after the conclusion of hostilities.
“I was waiting to go over when the war in Europe ended,” he said. “I’m 85 now so that makes me on the younger end of World War II era vets. I served in the Army of Occupation in western Germany where the American zone was located. I was in Germany for 14 months and was discharged from the Army in 1948.”
“My dad was also a veteran of World War I and was commander of the American Legion post here,” Robert Rhinehart said.
The Rhineharts are long-time members of American Legion Post 32 and the American Legion Auxilliary and participated along with other post members in the sale of poppy flowers at the Brookshire’s Grocery at 28th Avenue and Hazel Street Saturday to raise funds for the charitable work done to assist veterans in need.
“I’ve been doing this for some 30 years,”Robert Rhinehart said. “The money that we raise will fund veteran’s support programs at VA hospitals in Little Rock and North Little Rock as well as veterans living in nursing homes here in Pine Bluff. If a veteran is in need of toothpaste, clothes or other items, then we will provide it for them.”
“We buy Christmas gifts for the veterans living in nursing homes in Pine Bluff and the veteran’s hospital in Little Rock,” Barbara Rhinehart said.
Veterans Day observances
• Military veterans will be honored at the Veterans Day service at 2 p.m. Monday at the White Hall Museum’s Veterans Monument, 9009 Dollarway Road.
• Trinity Village will host a Veteran’s Day program at 1:30 p.m. Monday where all veterans will be honored. The program will include a special remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.