The 20th CBRNE Command would like to recognize the men and women who have or are serving in America's Armed Forces by honoring them for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. It is our privilege to serve with and say “thank you” to all of the Veterans for their courage, selflessness and exemplary service. We are grateful and acknowledge your many sacrifices and accomplishments.
Name: Kent L. Ward
Branch of Service: United States Army
Dates of Service: 28 January 1981 to 31 January 2005
Personal reflection about the importance/meaning of Veterans Day:
"As we look on Veterans Day first I would like to remind us on why we celebrate Veterans Day and how the day of celebration came about and what it means to me.
It was first celebrated as Armistice Day, commemorating the cessation of fighting between the Allies and Germany in World War I—at the 11 th hour on the 11 th day of the 11 th month, 1918. When, a year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first Armistice Day, he spoke of the “solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service” and the “gratitude for victory.” But because World War I had been regarded as the “war to end all wars,” Wilson’s reasons for esteeming the victory had everything to do with lasting peace: “the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.
Congress in May 1938 by statute made November 11 a legal federal holiday, a day to be dedicated to world peace and thereafter to be celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” But after the hard-won victory in World War II and the successful battle to repel Communist aggression in Korea, Congress in 1954 changed the name of the holiday to “Veterans Day,” a day to honor American warriors of all wars, for their patriotism and the willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Over fifty years ago, in his proclamation of Veterans Day 1961, President Kennedy invited all citizens to observe Veterans Day in ceremonies “expressive of our people’s desire for peace and their gratitude to our veterans who have served and sacrificed to attain it.” Over thirty years ago, proclaiming Veterans Day 1986, President Reagan spoke less of peace than of freedom and preserving our way of life: “Veterans Day gives all Americans a special opportunity to pay tribute to all those men and women who throughout our history, have left their homes and loved ones to serve their country. Their willingness to give freely and unselfishly of themselves, even their lives, in defense of our democratic principles has given our great country the security we enjoy today".
In 2011, President Obama’s proclamation struck an altogether different note, beginning with a call to honor our veterans and to commemorate the legacy they have upheld of “profound service and sacrifice in pursuit of a more perfect Union”. He praised them as exemplifying the fundamental American trait of doing our utmost “to make a difference in the lives of others”—a banality that does not begin to describe the heroic and extraordinary character of their service and its nation-preserving goals. He then spent much time praising their efforts—after their military service—to “safeguard the prosperity of our Nation in our neighborhoods, our businesses, and our homes. As teachers and engineers, doctors and parents, these patriots have made contributions to civilian life that serve as a testament to their dedication to the welfare of our country.”
Also, we must remember this demographic and socio-cultural division between the less than 10 percent that does the fighting and the 90 percent that enjoy the benefits of peace and prosperity safeguarded by those who protect and serve. And while veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan receive more respect and consideration from post-9/11 America than did veterans who returned from Vietnam to an ungrateful country, it remains to be seen whether we can properly honor their service.
Bottom line, Veterans day is not just a holiday day or a day off for me. It is a day of reflection. It brings back the memories of my grandfather who served in World War II, my father who served in the U.S. Army and my mother who served in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) as well as other family members and friends."