A grateful nation marks historic day
November 17, 2010
- Veterans past and present come out to honor fallen comrades
- Family deals with deployment as they mark Veteran's Day
- Community remembers the sacrifices of so many
HEIDELBERG, Germany -A day observed with solemn pride by a grateful nation holds even greater meaning for the Doyle family whose Veterans Day began by marking time.
Melissa and her daughters Emily and Maggie attended the Nov. 11 ceremony at Patton Barracks in Heidelberg, Germany with one big thought in their minds - husband and dad Maj. Brian Doyle had departed that morning for Afghanistan.
Emily participated in the ceremony with Girl Scout Troop 207 along with her best friend Elizabeth Thomson. Thomson understood what the day meant.
"We celebrate all the veterans that died for us and served our country," she said. But for her, "It was sad because Mr. Brian deployed and it made me think of him."
"We call Veterans Day a holiday. But for many veterans, it's another day of memories that drive them to live their lives each day as best they possibly can," said U.S. Army Garrison Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg Commander Col. Bill Butcher in his remarks.
Butcher laid the wreath at memorial stone of Benjamin G. Berry who died shortly after his 19th birthday in 1998.
The American Legion Rhein Neckar Post GR-03 of Heidelberg hosted the ceremony with participation from local scouts and the Heidelberg High School Junior ROTC.
The event also marked the 40th anniversary of the Legion in Heidelberg.
The Doyles moved to Heidelberg a year ago from the states and stayed when Brian was re-assigned to Baumholder with the 3-4 Infantry because, Melissa said, they have a great circle of support here in the Heidelberg community.
She expressed her appreciation for the ceremony with understandable emotion.
"It's a great celebration of our Soldiers who sacrificed so much for us to be able to be here and celebrate our country, to let our children grow up as free as we did, to experience the freedom we experienced as children," she said.
"They're out there fighting to preserve that as the world changes," Doyle said.
Butcher's remarks echoed her sentiment.
"It's a day we keep in our minds the brave men and women of our nation - generations of them - who above all else believed in and fought for a set of ideals...
"For our deployed troops, it is another day in harm's way. For their families, it is another day to feel the absence of a loved one and concern for their safety," he said.
Doyle will be gone a year - "a year today," Melissa said and while she found it somewhat ironic, she also felt it fitting.
Her girls Emily and Maggie were surrounded by friends who had their own perspectives.
"It made me think of when my dad was deployed and also of my grandpa who fought in the (Vietnam) war," said Megan Goss, Girl Scout Troop 207.