By Tim Cherry, Belvoir EagleNovember 18, 2011
The Headquarters Battalion and Fort Belvoir Elementary School joined to celebrate Veterans Day with its bi-annual cemetery clean-up day, Nov. 10.
Soldiers cleaned the Woodlawn cemetery and students placed American flags next to the numerous tombstones in the burial ground.
The students had the opportunity to learn about and pay respect to veterans by talking to current Soldiers.
"Servicemembers are leading the way for our country," said Headquarters Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Dwayne Bowyer, while speaking to the students about the importance of Veterans Day.
Bowyer said the Woodlawn cemetery is owned by the United Methodist Church, who doesn't have a facility on post. This is makes difficulty for the church to maintain the grounds.
In a community outreach effort, the Headquarters Battalion helps clean the grounds twice a year -- on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
The unit also uses the outreach as an opportunity to educate children.
"It was a great," said 1st Sgt. Bradley Scott, Headquarters Battalion Command Sergeant Major.
Scott said it's important that students understand the importance of Veterans Day because the youth will be responsible for passing on Soldiers' legacies to future generations.
The day reminds him to be honorable and live up the memory of deceased servicemembers.
Approximately 11 veterans are currently resting in the cemetery and Patrice Alston, sixth grade teacher, said it's was important for the children to stop and be thankful for those Soldiers' service.
"They need to be thinking about our country and what these Soldiers have done," Alston said.
Alston, whose husband served in the Army and has lived at Belvoir, said Veterans Day is a vital day to remember servicemembers.
"These are people who put their lives at risk for our country so we can live without worry of being harmed," Alston said.
One student asked Bowyer for his personal thoughts on the holiday.
He replied by saying the day reminds him to reflect on active-duty servicemembers and those who gave their lives protecting the United States.
"It makes me very proud to wear this uniform and serve this great nation," Bowyer said to the students.
He added that the students should show honor and respect to servicemembers who are protecting them in foreign combats everyday because "there are many countries out there that are less fortunate than we are."
Many of the students in the class are in Military Families and Bowyer believes this helps them appreciate the Veterans Day more because they see the sacrifice their parents make.
"It's a good feeling to see how they respect what Veterans Day is all about," Bowyer said.