Fort Belvoir honors past, present Veterans
Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Col. John Strycula, Garden Club president Alice Ess and Spc. Heather Brown, Headquarters Battalion reflect after laying the memorial wreath at the Engineers Cold War Memorial.

Fort Belvoir honored the lives of fallen and current servicemembers with its Veteran's Day Observance Nov. 11.

Soldiers and Families joined at the Cold War Memorial on Long Parade Field to honor past and present warriors.

The installation hosted the event to remember and to respect the service of veterans and to renew the nation's commitment to caring for Soldiers and their Families.

Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Col. John Strycula led the event with remarks and a moment of silence.

"For more than two centuries the veterans of our nation have been willing to serve and to sacrifice for our country," Strycula said. "Today let's honor all the men and women who have made and have been responsible for making America the greatest nation on this earth."

According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, the holiday started in 1919 at the conclusion of World War I when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the occasion Armistice Day.

In May 1938, the day became a federal holiday and was changed to Veterans Day to honor servicemembers in all the nation's conflicts and it has been celebrated on Nov. 11 since 1978.

To exemplify the courage of servicemembers, Strycula told attendees the story of Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2011 for his heroic efforts during a combat in Afghanistan.

Despite gunshot wounds, Petry aided his fellow Soldiers to safety and gave his hand to save them from a grenade.

He was willing to sacrifice himself to save other Soldiers and this is the leadership quality Strycula wanted people to consider when honoring veterans.

"Let us all remember the Sergeant Petrys and all the Wounded Warriors that have returned from combat and are still recovering from both the visible and invisible wounds of war," Strycula said. "May their recovering be both swift and complete."

According to Strycula, there are more than 23 millions veterans of past and current conflicts who have served the country who are now members of civilian communities.

"They can be our neighbors, our co-workers our extended Family members," Strycula said. "Each one of them have served our nation and our deserving of our thanks our support and our respect."

Strycula also asked people to pray for the thousands of servicemembers who are currently deployed in approximately 150 countries and to honor the Families of all Soldiers.

"Throughout our nation's history, our military Families have sacrificed so much in support of their Soldiers and they ask for nothing in return for a lifetime of support," Strycula said.

Alice Ess, co-president of the Belvoir Garden Club, joined Strycula during part of the ceremony to lay a patriotic wreath in honor of all servicemembers.

The wreath was created by the garden club, who has adopted the Cold War Memorial as a beautification project.

More than 168 names are inscribed on the memorial in honor of those who have died defending our freedom, during a campaign in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam.

Ess offered attendees a way to honor these Soldiers and the rest of the American veterans.

"We can take an extra minute to thank an active-duty member of the military and their Families for the sacrifices they've made and continue to make each and every day," Ess said.

Page last updated Thu November 17th, 2011 at 00:00