FORT KNOX, Kentucky -- The Kentucky communities of Louisville and Vine Grove lined the streets over the weekend to applaud Fort Knox and area veterans, while remembering the centennial anniversaries of the installation and 100th Training Division (Leader Development).
Soldiers and veterans passed under confetti in the downtown areas of Louisville Nov. 9 as residents, including several elementary school children, clapped and cheered. Major Gen. John Evans Jr., commanding general of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, led the procession as the grand marshal.
"This is an important Veterans Day because in two days, on the 11th of November, we will recognize 100 years since the end of World War I," said Evans to the crowd after the parade. "On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, they signed the armistice that ended World War I, and since that time they have used the 11th of November to recognize not just the veterans from that war, all of whom have passed now, but also the veterans from every war since who have kept the torch of freedom burning bright in our country."
Hardin County residents gathered at Optimist Park in Vine Grove on a cold Nov. 10 morning at the conclusion of their parade to witness solemn presentations in support of prisoners of war, missing in action and those killed in action. Brigadier Gen. Aaron Walter, commanding general of 100th, participated in the parade as the grand marshal.
Walter talked in-depth about the road Soldiers have walked on to get to today and the complexity of what the Army faces in the current environment.
"We must meet the threats of this new strategic environment with forces that are ready to respond to the challenges of today and win decisively on the battlefields of tomorrow," Walter said. "To that end, America's military is moving to a new model of operational readiness that will build and sustain the most capable combat-ready and lethal force in the history of our nation.
"Like the veterans who preceded us, we continue to adapt and learn the critical nature of combat arms on ever-changing battlefields."
Walter also thanked the communities and families for their sacrifices over the past 100 years to support the military.
Evans echoed Walter's assurances of the Army's strength and lethality as he concluded his remarks to hundreds of onlookers.
"I want to assure you that we are strong in America. We will stay together in America," said Evans. "We will always be the land of the free because this is the home of the brave."