“I had gotten very used to taking orders, which helped me later in life when I got married,” joked Payson Mayor Tom Morrissey.

Morrissey was talking about his service in the United States Army as he addressed an estimated 350 people gathered for the annual Payson Patriotic Events Committee’s Veterans Day 2021: A Tribute to our Veterans at Payson High School auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 11.

He drew laughter.

“My wife’s not here today — she’s down in the Valley, otherwise, I wouldn’t say that.”

More laughter.

But jokes and laughter represented just a moment in a heartfelt tribute featuring songs by both the Julia Randall Elementary School Choir led by Ms. Beth Christianson, and the Payson Choral Society.

And Morrissey got serious before wrapping up a nearly five-minute speech.

“I took an oath in the military. I took an oath when I was sworn in as deputy U.S. Marshal,” the mayor said. “Those of us who took an oath, we took that oath to the U.S. Constitution. When we pledge allegiance to the flag, we’re pledging allegiance to the U.S. Constitution ... That oath never goes away.

“And I say to all of you who have taken that oath, the oath lives the rest of your life. And no matter what tribulations prevail, or what we’re presented with, and we’re in some of them right now, no matter what, that oath is always there.

“And I can guarantee you folks, that every veteran I know and every veteran I’m associated with and anybody who’s taken an oath to that Constitution will stand with it.

“It comes down to courage. We’re gonna be called upon I’m sure in our lifetimes to have courage and to stand tall for this country. Maybe everybody in this room is going to be. And I pray to the Lord God that I’m right when I say to you ‘I know you will be there.’ So, God bless America and God bless you.”

Randy Roberson was the master of ceremonies for the event, which returned to the PHS auditorium after last year’s event was changed to a virtual event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Payson Military Honor Guard presented the colors to open the event.

Following the national anthem, Father Joseph Vieira, pastor of the Holy Nativity Catholic Church in Payson and distinguished Army veteran, offered the invocation and benediction.

The event closed with a medley of service hymns and the playing of “Taps.”

The day started for many with a Veterans Day Parade an hour before the tribute.

Members of the Rim Country Classic Auto Club drove selected veterans to lunch following the event.

After the tribute, the Payson American Legion Post #147 held a Veterans Day Celebration, Oath Affirmation and flag-raising at the Veterans Memorial in Green Valley Park.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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