Aberdeen pays tribute to vets
November 20, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Citizens of the city of Aberdeen gathered on a sunny, crisp fall day to honor veterans for their service during a ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park Nov. 11.
"Ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. Simply put, that is who veterans are," said Aberdeen Mayor Michael Bennett, during welcoming remarks. "America owes a debt to our veterans that could never be repaid."
Bennett said that a high number of veterans provide vital services to their communities, serving as firefighters, police officers, and in other leadership positions.
"When an emergency hits, there is a good chance it is a veteran that is first to respond," he said. "Whether it is a school teacher, construction worker, or first responder, military veterans take their mission seriously."
During the ceremony, APG Garrison Commander Col. Gregory McClinton said veterans are Soldiers for life.
"They are professionals, international standard bearers, that other Soldiers around the world seek to emulate," he said.
McClinton said that in August 2011, President Barack Obama passed the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act. The VOW Act expands training and educational opportunities for veterans and provides tax credits for employers who hire veterans with service-connected disabilities. McClinton added that Team APG will host a Veteran's Entrepreneurial Day on Nov. 15, where veterans will have a chance to present their businesses to local investors.
"Supporting our Soldiers and veterans requires a team approach by the Army, government agencies and local communities like Aberdeen," he said.
He added that veterans make exceptional employees in any organization because, in serving their country, they have acquired invaluable skills including decision-making skills, proven leadership honed in a challenging environment, team-building experience, and a work ethic that is committed to excellence.
He said the community can do its part by encouraging businesses to hire veterans and their Family members. Businesses that provide employment opportunities to veterans can register on the National Resource Directory, https://www.nrd.gov/, a website that provides information and resources to wounded warriors, veterans, service members and their Families and caregivers.
"Don't just thank veterans, show it through your actions," he said.
American Legion Post 128 conducted the ceremony in coordination with the City of Aberdeen, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10028, Catholic War Veterans Post 1841 and Korean War Veterans Post 271.
The program opened with the posting of the Colors by the American Legion Post 128 Honor Guard and the national anthem, played by the Aberdeen Middle School band. Robert Hanson of Post 128 served as Officer of the Day and escort during the placing of wreaths at the memorial. Each of the Veterans Service Organizations laid a wreath to commemorate the service men and women who have fallen, followed by a moment of silence, a memorial salute fired by the Post 128 Honor Guard, and the playing of Taps.
After the service, Aberdeen resident Robin Lancaster, said she has attended the service for the last five years with her children, and looks forward to the annual ceremony.
"I agree with the guest speaker (McClinton)," she said. "Our community should protect and assist veterans. We need to break the trend of veterans' unemployment and homelessness. We should help veterans reintegrate back into the work world. I am happy to hear about the VOW Act."