KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Many may believe that there is a special synchronicity associated with the date 11-11-11, especially at 11:11 am or pm. The belief that it has mystical powers has been adopted by believers in New Age philosophies. In the United States, the 11th day of the 11th month of any year is a time to honor the veteran's who have given so much, their very lives in many cases, to ensure the freedom and way of life of their country.
This year, the new commanding general of the 81st Regional Support Command, Maj. Gen. Gill Beck, attended the Veterans Day celebration in Knoxville, Tenn., along with his family which was followed by a Veterans Day luncheon put on by the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council (ETMAC) where Beck was the guest speaker.
The festivities were kicked off right at 11:00 am on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville, where Beck stood on the reviewing stand returning salutes from the multiple veterans and organizations as they passed by. Joining Beck on the reviewing stand were three World War II veteran's including his own father-in-law, 2nd Lt. Robert Bailey, who in 2008, received a Silver Star medal for actions in Europe over 60 years after he shot two enemy German soldiers who were attempting to kill one his troops (using a .45 caliber pistol his wife had sent him in the mail).
After the parade, at the ETMAC luncheon, Beck assisted Bailey in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. Attending the luncheon were numerous veterans, past and present, many in uniform. Each service was asked to sing their respective song and even though there was only one representative of the Coast Guard, the others joined in the singing as a show of support for their fellow veteran. Beck told the audience that it was such an honor to be among such dedicated men and women, from the oldest veteran, who had enlisted in 1934, to the youngest.
After his address, Beck joined Army Reserve Ambassador John Dyess in giving out some awards to a number of Soldiers and Airmen, making sure to meet each one and shake their hands, thanking them for their service.
Regardless of the symbolism of the 11-11-11, Veterans Day (formerly Armistice Day) has been and continues to be "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those . . . in the country's service." President Woodrow Wilson, November 11, 1919.