By Sgt. William Tanner, 24th Press Camp HQNovember 14, 2016
DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland - For most Americans, Veterans Day, signifies the celebration of the nation's military veterans and the sacrifices they make for our country's freedoms and everyday way of life; other countries celebrate the same day but for different reasons.
Between November 10 - 11, U.S. Paratroopers assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, participated in two events alongside Canadian soldiers starting with an operations presentation - static display at the City of Lobez Culture Center and finishing with a Polish Independence Day parade with their Polish counterparts here.
During the first event, leaders assigned to both U.S. and Canadian forces spoke to a crowd, comprised of high school students and teachers, about their current missions in Poland and how they coincide with the importance of the upcoming holiday.
"For Poland," Capt. Ward Lentz, an officer assigned to 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry said, "your Independence Day marks the end of a war and it does the same for us. For us, November 11th is a day that we use to remember all of the soldiers that fought for us and Canada's freedom and for our rights."
Lentz said he related the special day for all countries involved in the festivities with Canada celebrating its Remembrance Day and the United States celebrating Veterans Day.
"We celebrate, or commemorate, November 11th much the same way Poland does," Lentz said.
After the presentation, attendees viewed weaponry and gear soldiers from each country train with, such as an M240 7.62mm Machine Gun and the Canadian C9A2 Light Machine Gun. They were also shown the units' tactical vehicles and given a demonstration of how they communicate with each other while during missions.
"I think what the people were able to get out of this was the opportunity meet with us instead of seeing us or passing us on the street," Spc. Robert Covey, a Paratrooper assigned to D. Co., 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt., 173rd Abn. Bde., said. "They were also able to sit down, almost like a forum, and ask us questions about our mission here."
As the festivities culminated with a Polish Independence Day Parade throughout the streets here, spectators were able to watch as the Troops demonstrated the unity and cohesion every NATO Ally involved in Atlantic Resolve have been striving towards.
"The military really touches everyone's lives in one way or another and we can show (the Poles) how excited we are to come out here and show them that we aren't going anywhere -- we are here to support you," Covey said.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the Army Contingency
Response Force in Europe, and is capable of projecting forces to conduct a full range of military operations across the United States European, Central and Africa Command areas of responsibility within 18 hours.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.