Anniston Army Depot honors present, past Veterans in ceremonies
November 23, 2010
- The depot held two ceremonies Nov. 9 in memory and honor of anyone who fought in the uniform of the United States.
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. - The depot held two ceremonies Nov. 9 in memory and honor of anyone who fought in the uniform of the United States.
The first ceremony, held at the Physical Fitness Center, commemorated the nation's Veterans through word, as three tenant commanders shared their thoughts; and deed as those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country were honored with a Fallen Soldier Battle Cross.
Following the conclusion of that ceremony, 40 depot Veterans boarded a bus bound for McClellan's Veterans Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony and the opportunity to place flags on the graves of the Veterans.
<b>Honor from those who serve</b>
"Whether in peace or in war, the service of our Veterans has been a cornerstone of our national values and our national resolve," said Lt. Col. Willie Flucker, commander of Anniston Chemical Activity, as he welcomed the depot's Veterans and visitors to the Veterans Day Celebration at the Physical Fitness Center.
Flucker, Lt. Col. Wayne Bondy of DLA Distribution Anniston and Lt. Col. Randall DeLong of Anniston Defense Munitions Center - each shared their appreciation for support shown to those who have served.
"I can personally attest to the support shown to our troops by our Family members - the deep impact and positive impact it has on our Soldiers. Your support and service to our servicemembers is greatly appreciated," said Bondy in his remarks.
DeLong was honored to be the ceremony's keynote speaker and he reminded the crowd not only of the reasons Veterans Day is celebrated each year, but also of the fact that more than 1.4 million Soldiers are currently on active duty.
"We sometimes forget, as the extraordinary events of our history unfold, that our Veterans are ordinary Americans," said DeLong. "They feel and experience the same uncertainty and emotions we all do. That makes their sacrifice and bravery all the more remarkable."
<b>Honor for those who have passed</b>
Norbert Bergstresser, a security guard here, grew up watching his father don a uniform for his country. Carl Bergstresser served the Army for 30 years, beginning in 1938 as the first rumbles of what would become WWII were sounding in Europe and lasting through the Korean Conflict.
Carl passed away Nov. 13, 1988, and was buried in McClellan's Veterans Cemetery, just a short distance from the former Noble Army Hospital, where he once served.
"He always said this area reminded him of home," said Norbert. "We thought it would be fitting for Dad to be close to home."
Norbert followed his father, and a long line of his ancestors, in service, though he chose to be part of the Air Force. On Nov. 9, he honored his father and the 416 other men and women buried alongside him with a group of his fellow depot Veterans.
Maj. Jeffery Lewis, deputy director of contracting for ANAD, placed a wreath in honor of those buried at the cemetery, signaling the guests present to spread out and place a small flag in front of each headstone.
When the graves had been decorated, the somber ceremony ended with a prayer, moment of silence and the playing of "Taps" by George Worman, head of the depot's Legal Office.
<b>ANAD participates in parade</b>
A Stryker vehicle rebuilt here in the Nichols Industrial Complex rolled down Noble Street as part of the Anniston Veterans Day Parade, carrying two drivers and three of the depot's tenant commanders.
Lt. Col. Willie Flucker of Anniston Chemical Activity, Lt. Col. Wayne Bondy of DLA Distribution Anniston and Lt. Col. Randall DeLong of Anniston Defense Munitions Center enjoyed the beautiful weather of Nov. 11 as they slowly moved through downtown Anniston.
Hundreds of people lined the streets to hear the bands and see the floats and other vehicles.