Maj. Gen. Brian J. Mennes, 10th Mountain DIvision (LI) commanding general, served as the guest speaker at the Fort Drum Association of the United States Army Veterans Day Celebration breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn, Watertown, N.Y., Nov. 12.Mennes was invited to address the audience at the event, which was held to honor and recognize all those who have served, and continue to serve the United States."We celebrate Veterans Day and recognize all who have served, and continue to serve, our nation with honor and distinction," said Mennes. "The Army's people are its greatest strength, and taking care of them and ensuring they are ready to fight and win our nation's wars is our top priority."The 10th Mountain Division has a very rich history, playing a significant role in WWII in the Italian Alps. While deployed to Italy, 10th Mountain Soldiers seized German positions on Riva Ridge and Mt. Belvedere, breaking through the German mountain defenses into the Po River Valley and reaching the northern end of Lake Garda by the war's end.During nearly five months of intense ground combat in Italy, the division was opposed by nearly 100,00 German troops, yet effectively destroyed five German divisions, unhinging the German defense in Italy and drawing German forces away from other theaters. The division sustained nearly 5,000 casualties during World War II, with 1,000 Soldiers killed in action.A group of Fort Drum Soldiers also served as color guard for the event.The Association of the United States Army is a nonprofit educational and professional development association serving America's Army. AUSA provides a voice for the Army, supports the Soldier, and honors those who have served.Michelle Capone, President of the Northern New York, Fort Drum Chapter of the AUSA, said it's an honor to hold such an event"AUSA is a very service oriented organization and we feel it's very important, especially on Veterans Day, to be able to recognize all of those people who have historically served our nation through all service branches."Capone also reflected upon the important role Veterans play in the North Country communities."Being an Army community, we recognize the importance of service members even more," said Capone. "In our backyard, we have Fort Drum and we know on a daily basis they are protecting our freedom. We recognize the importance of their service."