Carol Eaton and others salute during the playing of the “Marine Hymn” at the Hartselle Veterans Day Parade ceremony. Veterans and current personnel of each branch of the military were honored. | Brent Maze

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Lifetime of service to country

Published 12:27am Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ennis Waits understands what it means to serve your country.

Before he graduated from high school, he told his mother that he wanted to serve his country at the end of World War II.

“I told her that I wanted to join the service,” the 85-year-old veteran said, who rode in the second annual Hartselle Veterans Day Parade. “And once my tour of duty was over, I would go back and finish high school.”

And he did. He joined the Navy and served in the Pacific basin. He was there to witness the cease-fire in the Pacific.

Carol Eaton and others salute during the playing of the “Marine Hymn” at the Hartselle Veterans Day Parade ceremony. Veterans and current personnel of each branch of the military were honored. | Brent Maze

“No one really knew if they were going to put down their weapons,” Waits said.

Once the war ended and he returned home, he finished his high school education, just like he told his mother.

Waits was not the only member of the military in his family. Both his son and his daughter joined the service. His son was severely injured in the military and died a few years after he was discharged from the service.

Waits said he enjoyed the Veterans Day Parade at Hartselle. He actually rode in the parade with his great-granddaughters.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s just great to see the community do this,” Waits said.

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