Army Cyber Command pays homage to veterans
Soldier retire the colors at the end of the U.S. Army Cyber Command Veterans Day Ceremony 2011 Nov. 10 in front of the Nolan Building at Fort Belvoir.

Past and present veterans gathered at the Nolan Building on Nov. 10 for the U.S. Army Cyber Command/2nd Army's Veterans Day observance ceremony.

Lt. Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, Commanding General, U.S. Army Cyber Command/2nd Army and Command Sgt. Maj. Roger P. Blackwood, Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Cyber Command/2nd Army gave remarks during the observance.

Both mentioned how important it is that past, present and future veterans be recognized for their honorable service as well as those who have given their lives in service. They also said it is important to honor the Family members who have supported past veterans and continue to support our current veterans.

Hernandez opened his remarks by saying he couldn't think of a better day to honor and recognize veterans, especially with the overcast weather.

He took time to recognize representatives from the American Legion and The Military Order of the Purple Heart who attended as well as three members of Fort Belvoir's Wounded Warriors unit.

He also took time to recognize Sgt. Ralph Cline, a Second Army Soldier and combat veteran of World War I, who is the subject of "The Patriot" portrait by Andrew Wyeth that was shown in the observance program. Cline served in the Army for 55 years.

Hernandez concluded his remarks about Cline by saying "What a Second Army Soldier. What a legacy. What a veteran."

Hernandez also referenced a quote by President John. F. Kennedy that said "A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers. Today, we honor and remember our veterans."

"We always pay tributes to our veterans in our thoughts and in our heart," said Blackwood. "But, on Veterans Day there's that one day that it truly impacts the country and everybody is focused in that direction of giving thanks to our veterans who have served and those who are serving and those who will serve in the future."

Hernandez stated that this Veterans Day finds our country, once again, as a nation at war. But, he said we remain, as we have for the last 235 years, a free people determined to protect our people and the freedoms we enjoy.

Blackwood said we should never forget to honor our veterans, especially considering the personal sacrifice they make when they decide to join the service.

"When you think about a veteran, when they join and serve in the United States military, they're giving up their own personal desires to serve something bigger and that's our nation," said Blackwood. "We should never forget that. Our country cannot afford to ever forget that."

At the end of the observance, the three Wounded Warriors, Sgt. Brian Ohler, 182nd Infantry Regiment, Massachusettes National Guard; Spc. Blaise Flamino, wounded in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division; and Spc. Devon Pitz, also wounded in Afghanistan while serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade; were presented with plaques to recognize the sacrifice each has made serving in combat.

Ohler said he, Flamino and Pitz were honored to be recognized at the event and to be given a tour of the Nolan Building. He said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"Lt. Gen. Hernandez and Command Sgt. Maj. Blackwood, they're really for the Soldiers, and to see the support from the Belvoir community to come out is really overwhelming," said Ohler. "We are three humble guys that are looking to get back to the fight, but we are honored to be here."

Though he was proud to receive the recognition, Ohler said the plaque is a representation of all the servicemembers who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's an honor that they are honoring us, but this is a representation of the brothers and sisters that are still over there," said Ohler. "It was rough leaving them, but they sent us back here to heal and hopefully get back to the fight."

Being a Combat Operation command sergeant major, Blackwood said it was special to be able to recognize three Soldiers who are coming directly from the fight.

"Everyone gives honorable service," said Blackwood. "But, when you can have three young Soldiers who have given to their country so much to attend this ceremony, that is so significant, and they represent everyone out there. That's what's important about it. They represent, as we all do, wearing the United States military uniform, each and every one of our servicemembers that are serving. That's what's special."

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