By Russell Sellers, Army Flier StaffNovember 18, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker paid tribute to the men and women who served the nation during times of war at Veterans' Park Nov. 11.
Soldiers and civilians from the surrounding communities attended the installation's annual Veterans Day memorial ceremony and reminisced about their military experiences while honoring the memories of those who never came home.
Brig. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, spoke to the attendees about what Veterans Day means to him and what he hoped it meant to everyone there.
"Today, I'm one of thousands standing in similar locations all over the world honoring our veterans," he said. "It's a special day set aside to remind us of the sacrifices and the service of the men and women who were and are selflessly devoted to something bigger than themselves - the United States of America."
Many veterans also attended the ceremony and said they were moved by the amount of support they receive from the installation.
"This is my first time coming to this ceremony," said Ret. Master Sgt. Harry Grainger, Disabled American Veterans Ozark Chapter commander. "The things that were talked about were exactly what need to be said. When I see all the young men and women continuing to fight for our nation, it brings tears to my eyes."
Grainger, who had 24 years of service including serving in the Vietnam War before retiring from the Army, added he thought the ceremony was "very nice" and that he hoped to attend the next one.
Other veterans who attended the event said they have been to every ceremony since it began.
"This is a fine thing every year and it's one I've been coming to ever since they started doing it," said Retired Sgt. 1st Class William Bowman, DAV Ozark Chapter member. "It's important for us to always remember those who served and continue to serve."
Crutchfield also recognized another group of people who served the nation in a different capacity: the Families.
"They deserve just as much gratitude as our veterans," he said.
Before closing the ceremony, Crutchfield left the crowd with the definition of a veteran.
"It is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check to the United States, up to and including (their life)," he said. "We're here to say 'thank you' to those people."