By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)November 14, 2019
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The depot held its annual Veterans Day Ceremony Nov. 7 in the Physical Fitness Center.
The event featured an essay written by Coldwater Elementary School fourth grader Kaydence Colson, a performance by the Marion Military Institute's White Knight Drill Team and remarks from Lt. Col. Martin Wennblom, the commander of DLA Distribution Anniston.
Colson's essay brought the crowd to their feet as she detailed why Veterans are special.
"They leave their families to fight for our country. They put our needs before theirs," she said, adding that a selfless purpose drives those who serve their nation.
"They serve their country not because of something they have been promised. Veterans put their lives in danger just for this country," said Colson.
During Wennblom's remarks, he detailed the life of one of those special Veterans.
Maj. Cleveland Abbott was born in South Dakota in 1892, two years after his parents had moved there from Alabama.
Wennblom detailed his high school and college athletic abilities -- how he excelled in multiple sports, including football, basketball and track.
Following his college graduation in 1916, he was hired by the Tuskegee Institute as the football coach and dairy instructor.
In 1917, Abbott joined the Army and served as a 1st lieutenant in the 366th Infantry, 92nd Division.
"He saw action in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918. Meuse-Argonne was the principle invasion of the U.S. Expeditionary Force during WWI. It was one of the series of Allied attacks known as the 100 Days Offensive, which brought the war to an end," said Wennblom.
Abbott was the one who carried the message of the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, from his colonel to the troops.
After the war, Abbott returned to teaching and coaching, a profession he also passed to his daughter Jessie Ellen, who in 1943 became the first coach of the women's track team at Tennessee State University.
Wennblom detailed the accolades Abbott's life received -- the Olympians he coached, halls of fame he was inducted into, the facilities which now bear his name and the lives he touched.
"Not all accomplishments are the same, but there is an action we can all take. We can carry a grateful heart and work hard each day to deserve the freedoms we have," said Wennblom.