By Installation Management CommandDecember 12, 2011
DETROIT (Dec. 12, 2011) -- More than 100 people, including leadership from the Detroit Arsenal, participated in a Wreaths Across America ceremony in New Baltimore, Mich., Dec. 10, by placing wreaths adorned with red bows and American flags on cemetery markers of fallen veterans.
The event, hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7573, included members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines and was organized to pay tribute to those who have dutifully served in the armed forces.
The event began with the posting of the colors by the VFW color guard and singing of the National Anthem by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. William Kaufmann. Following the anthem and invocation, each service representative placed a wreath at the cemetery followed by a crisp salute in tribute to past veterans. Alan Parks, manager, U.S. Army Garrison -- Detroit Arsenal, was honored to lay the final wreath commemorating service members listed as prisoners of war and missing in action.
Following the wreath laying portion of the ceremony, Larry Smith, Mayor of New Baltimore, spoke followed by Parks' delivery of the keynote speech.
The gravity of the event hit home with many of the attendees as Parks, a retired veteran of both the Army and Air Force, laid the POW/MIA wreath. During his speech, Parks spoke of the word "service" in the present tense of "serve," and how it relates to even the past veterans being recognized that day.
"I would contend that each of these fallen veterans that we honor here in this ceremony still serve yet today, as both an inspiration to Americans everywhere and to our future generations that we may never forget that which they fought for," said Parks reflecting on how many refer to the nation's veterans as "having served."
He then went on to speak about the history of the Oath of Enlistment for our armed forces from its inception in 1775, its ratification in 1789 at the beginning of our nation's history and its final amendment to its current version in 1962.
Parks then asked attendees to consider placing their hands over their hearts as he recited that oath. As the oath was finished, he asked attendees as they still held their hand on their heart,
"Do you feel that sensation created by your hand? It's the feeling of pride as an American," Parks said. "Never forget that feeling, and do something about it."
The event concluded with the mournful playing of Taps, the retirement of the colors and Anchor Bay Schools' Junior Reserve Officer Training Cadets volunteers placing more than 400 wreaths in support of past veterans interred at St. Mary's Cemetery.
These 400 were just part of the hundreds of thousands of wreaths laid in cemeteries across the world, whether in Arlington National Cemetery of Washington, D.C., or abroad in Europe, Asia, Africa, or Central America.
More information on locations supported by Wreaths Across America can be found at: http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/locations/