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PHOTOS: VFW honors military members at Veterans Day event

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #10054 held its annual Veterans Day Ceremony this past Saturday, Nov. 11 and a large crowd of supporters turned out, with current and former military members, their families and everyday citizens coming together to mark the day.

Kicking off at 11 a.m., the ceremony opened with a welcome from post commander Steven Kennard and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, after which post chaplain Stephen Hall took to the microphone to offer a prayer.

“Our hearts overflow with gratitude for the men and women who have selflessly placed themselves in harm’s way and to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard the freedoms we hold dear. Their sacrifices, both seen and unseen, have woven the fabric of our nation’s history,” Hall intoned. “With each step they took, they paved the way for a future defined by liberty and opportunity. As we gather to honor their service, may our gratitude echo through the heavens, a chorus of appreciation that spans generations. Grant us the wisdom to recognize their sacrifices and the courage to live lives worthy of their efforts.”

With the banners that fly proudly above the post worn and battered from a year of use, it was time for the formal flag renewal. Members of the post replaced the old American and POW/MIA flags with brand new pennants and raised the colors to the very top of the flagpole while the crowd stood at attention, with veterans saluting and many others with their hands over their hearts. The flags were then lowered to half-staff once more.

“Veterans Day holds a special place in my heart, as it does for all veterans who have worn the uniform of our great nation. It is a day that reminds us of the commitment we made to defend the principles of liberty, freedom and justice. It is a day when we reflect on the time spent away from home, the bonds formed with our brothers and sisters in arms, and the sacrifices made on both our native and foreign shores, to protect the American way of life and aid those striving to enjoy their own freedoms,” Kennard told attendees that morning.

“Veterans Day isn’t merely about acknowledging our service, or even expressing gratitude. It is about making Veterans Day a touchstone of understanding, education and appreciation for all Americans,” Kennard continued. “And I believe it’s our job as veterans to help ensure that the true significance of this day isn’t lost in the noise of department sales or even everyday life. We must work to remind our nation that Veterans Day isn’t just another holiday on the calendar. It is a profound reminder of not only the commitment and sacrifices of all those who have served but also of the painstakingly high cost of freedom paid by those who have selflessly laid down their own lives and futures to protect ours.”

Kennard reminded everyone that all Americans, no matter their location or way of life, are a beneficiary of the service and sacrifices made by those who give themselves to a cause that is higher than themselves.

“And while the debt we owe them can never be repaid, commemorating Veterans Day is a start. It’s a shared responsibility and effort which ties all Americans, veterans and non-veterans alike, together,” he remarked.

Kennard encouraged veterans to share their stories with others, even though those conversations may be difficult, so that the wisdom they have gained isn’t lost.

“We must make it our shared mission to educate future generations that at its core, the American spirit is defined by resilience, selflessness and commitment,” he proclaimed.

Hall then returned to the podium for a closing prayer and he focused his words on the families of service members, who willingly surrender a “normal” life in support of their loved ones.

“Our hearts extend to the families of our veterans, whose unwavering support and sacrifice often go unseen. May the quiet moments of waiting and longing be their source of strength. Bless them with comfort in times of separation, courage in times of uncertainty and the knowledge that their sacrifices are valued and appreciated,” Hall said.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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