Soldiers, vets honored at Pearl Harbor observance
December 23, 2011
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Members of the Elkton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8175, local dignitaries and guests honored Soldiers, veterans and Family members during a military appreciation ceremony, Dec. 10. The event was also an observance of the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks that took place Dec. 7, 1941. The aerial bombing killed more than 2,400 Americans, sunk 12 ships and destroyed 188 aircrafts. As a result of the attack, President Franklin Roosevelt said that Dec. 7, 1941, was "a date which will live in infamy."
The event opened with a color guard procession composed of active and retired Army Soldiers. Students from Elkton High School led the singing of the national anthem.
"It was really important to us to get young people involved in this event, as there are not many Pearl Harbor observances these days. The younger generation needs to hear about what happened at Pearl Harbor, it is an important part of our history," said Kevin Miksis, from Mason Dixon Pro-Tainment who organized the event with Lewis Bolt. "We are not only honoring those who served in the past and present, we are also honoring those who will serve in the future."
The event included a Pearl Harbor lecture from Professor Nicole Dombrowski-Risser and remarks from several dignitaries including Jim Mullin, president of the Cecil County Board of Commissioners; Joe Fisona, the mayor of Elkton; and Carol Roddy, president of the Maryland Chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
Staff Sgt. Sean M. McBride, Aberdeen Proving Ground's Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, said that he was honored to speak in front of "true heroes" --Purple Heart recipients and veterans who bravely fought in wars. McBride said that after the Pearl Harbor attacks, many young men and women volunteered to serve in the military, to defend the wounded nation.
"Your generation really set the mark for us, and gave future generations something to aspire to," McBride said. "When the twin towers fell on that somber September morning my generation remembered the contributions and fortitude of your generation, so the answer of what had to be done was absolutely clear. We needed to follow the footsteps of the men and women who changed the world. We needed to take all actions necessary to defend our nation."
After a moment of silence to remember the victims of the Pearl Harbor attack, APG Garrison Commander Col. Orlando Ortiz spoke about his experiences as a battalion commander and asked the young people in attendance to consider military service.
"The total number of people serving in the military is less than one half of one percent of our total population," he said. "Our veterans are dying off; it is up to you to rise to the challenge to take pride in your nation and to serve your nation well."
Retired Command Sgt. Major Fred Posadas, who helped plan the program, said that he was proud to continue his Family's tradition of supporting VFWs. Posadas said that he was grateful to have grown up in a Family that valued military service.
"I was truly blessed to serve this country," he said. "Today I am proud to see our future, the active duty military and the youth who will serve. I know they will continue America's fight for freedom and help shape America's future. I embrace them as comrades and I know they will serve our country well. "
At the end of the ceremony a plaque honoring Cecil County veterans who have served the nation was presented to the VFW from Mason Dixon Pro-tainment.
After the ceremony, attendees said that they enjoyed the program.
"I enjoyed how they presented the information, I learned some new things today," said Dexter Thompson, a Vietnam veteran.
"I was glad to see the young people involved in the ceremony, they got to hear things that they might not have learned in school," said Tom Johnston, a Vietnam-era veteran. "I am involved in the American Legion Cecil Post 15 and we try to get young people involved as much as possible. We want them to learn about America's history and the sacrifices that were made by generations before them."