Heidi Bunch photos Chaplain Kay Benscoter and American Legion Commander Ken Carrothers bow as a prayer is delivered at Veteran’s Park in Hawthorne

Heidi Bunch photos
Chaplain Kay Benscoter and American Legion Commander Ken Carrothers bow as a prayer is delivered at Veteran’s Park in Hawthorne

“What a great day to be a Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airmen! What a great day to be a Veteran!” Lt. Col. Gregory Gibbons, commander of the Hawthorne Army Depot, told those in attendance of the Veteran’s Day celebration held at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Nov. 11.

On a cold, crisp day with Mt. Grant covered in snow, Gibbons reminded those in attendance the weight that veterans carry on their shoulders for defending those around the world. He reminded those of what politicians say to buy a vote and that many have said they will never go to war.

He addressed those veterans and their families in the audience saying, “Why did you veterans carry this weight?”

He answered, “Because you believe in standing up against evil, standing up for what is right, standing up for those who cannot defend themselves, standing up for our way of life. You veterans carry this weight because you stand up for our freedom in the face of our enemy. You veterans stood up in the 1940s, the 50s and 60s. You veterans faced our enemies who threatened our way of life in the 1970s, the 80s and 90s. And you veterans continue to do so today for our freedom.”

Joined by members of Hawthorne VFW Post 2313 and Auxiliary and American Legion Post 19 a prayer was given by veteran and Chaplain Kay Benscoter with speeches to follow by fellow veterans Darryl Conway, Barbara Edington and Ken Carrothers.

Each spoke of veterans and how they have contributed to what makes America. They spoke of self-sacrifice, war and how veterans have shaped history.

Veterans Day was originally celebrated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, when a treaty was signed between allies of World War I and Germany in France to cease hostilities on the Western Front. The signing took place at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month. It has been declared a national holiday in many ally nations and is celebrated every Nov. 11 in countries around the world.

The United States observes Veterans Day differently than other countries. Instead of honoring only the veterans who have died, all veterans are honored. Those who are living and those who are dead.

Gibbons focused on veterans who had also returned from serving their country and went to work at the depot, where they continued serving their fellow brothers and sisters in arms by showing up to work each day.

“Many of you recognize the importance of Hawthorne Army Depot to the military, the Department of Defense, the importance to the war fighter,” he would tell the crowd. The crowd made up of many veterans who served the depot or continue to do so today.

In his last veterans day speech to those in Hawthorne, before he is assigned to his new duty station, he said, “A service member will tell you: “I don’t need a bed to survive, it’s not fuel, food or even water. When in combat, they will tell you “If I am in a tight spot I want ammunition.” So thank you to all of you who work every day here on the depot.

As those in attendance honored veterans around the world and speakers gave talks about giving all, all under a flag which gently blew in the breeze – the depot continued it’s support of the American military.