Under the American flag at Hawthorne’s Veterans Memorial Park, those who have fought for the freedom of all American’s were honored by speeches and prayer on this Veterans Day.
John Stroud, Commander of VFW Post 2313, welcomed all in attendance and offered a brief history of Veterans Day.
“This year we mark the eve of America’s entrance into World War I, the great war, to war to end all wars, from which Veterans Day evolved,” Stroud read.
Explaining the difference between Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day, Stroud explained, “Veterans Day salutes all who served, regardless of when or where. It is our day, which we equally share with our families who served and scarified alongside us.”
“Today, we honor the contributions and sacrifices of nearly 22 million living veterans who have served our country in the name of liberty and justice.” In the park, many of those who had contributed to the freedom of others sat solemnly. Many veterans in hats announcing their branch. Some just returning home from conflicts others who were at war many years ago.
“From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan, from Bastogne to Baghdad, from Pork Chop Hill to the Persian Gulf, our veterans have borne the cost of America’s wars – and continue to stand watch over America’s peace. Today is their day – today is our day – to stand just a little bit taller and be recognized by a grateful nation who appreciates what the few have done for the many,” Stroud stated.
He concluded his speech with the following, “Ladies and gentleman, today our mighty flag waves high above and our hearts swell with patriotism. There is no greater nation on earth than the United States of America and we owe a debt greater than we can ever repay to the generations who came before us and to those who will come after us.”
Mineral County Commissioner Paul MacBeth, a veteran, also spoke to the crowd, but on a more personal note. Seating in the audience was MacBeth’s son, Robert, who, like this father – entered into the United States military. A different war – a different man but yet a connection to all the veterans at the park that day. MacBeth explained that his son had served two tours during Operation Enduring Freedom and MacBeth was extremely proud and moved to have his son sitting in attendance with him on Veterans Day.
Commander of the Hawthorne Army Depot, Lt Col Scott Bishop spoke at his first Veterans Day ceremony in Hawthorne.
“Today, all across our country – in town halls, city squares, parades and places such as this – we celebrate and honor America’s veterans for their devotion, patriotism and selfless service and sacrifice on behalf of us,” Lt Col Bishop stated.
He continued, “President Calvin Coolidge said long ago, “The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.” Well, America doesn’t have that problem. Your attendance here today attests to that. We will never forget our veterans. Nor will we ever forget our POWs and MIAs who have yet to be accounted for. This is the solemn promise of a grateful nation.”
Noting that the Army depot employs many veterans of wars and conflicts past, Lt Col Bishop continued, “Right now, all around the country, veterans serve as teachers, doctors, engineers, social workers, community leaders, first responders and even elected officials. They continue to serve this country – this community – by making positive impacts, building stronger futures and inspiring future generations to come. Once a Solider – Always A Soldier.”
He would conclude his speech with the following, “There’s a saying that goes, “Soldiers are not in the Army. They are the Army. I couldn’t agree more. Our tanks, helicopters, howitzers are nothing without the trusted professionals who make them work. And these soldiers are a direct reflection of what’s best about America. They are America. They are the heart, the soul and the spirit of the greatest Nation on the planet. And so are our veterans.”