ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Anniston Army Depot celebrated the men and women who served in America's Armed Forces Nov. 9 in a ceremony at the installation's Physical Fitness Center.

Veterans from the depot's workforce joined those from the surrounding communities at the ceremony.

All Veterans present were encouraged to stand during a medley of military music as the song for their branch of service was played.

The Anniston High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps participated in the event by presenting the colors and performing drills.

Lt. Col. David Schmitt, commander of the Anniston Munitions Center, spoke during the ceremony, reminding those present that a servicemember's contributions to their country don't end with their military service.

"It takes a profound strength to wear this nation's uniform and, though one day they remove the uniform, no amount of time or strife can sever the golden thread that unites these Veterans in a unique and everlasting bond," said Schmitt.

He noted the U.S. military now has its largest population of young Veterans since the Vietnam War and praised the Department of Defense and federal government's efforts, through the GI Bill and other measures, to ensure those leaving service are able to get an education and employment.

"Though we come here today to thank Veterans for their service, we know they deserve so much more," said Schmitt. "They deserve an opportunity to use the skills, knowledge, leadership and experience they gained during their time in service."

Schmitt said that, throughout a Veteran's time in service, they have a team supporting them - from training through deployments. He asked that communities serve as that support team for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines as they return home from duty.

Schmitt listed a number of ways communities and individuals can assist Veterans - by encouraging businesses to hire former military members and their families, asking organizations to register with the National Resource Directory to offer services to Veterans and by volunteering.

"Veterans are strong and resilient, creative and determined and I am confident this generation will join the remarkable generations of men and women who wore this uniform and left an enduring mark on this nation."

Following Schmitt's remarks, the screens of the Physical Fitness Center were filled with images of current and former depot employees who served in the military.

Veterans place flags on McClellan graves

Forty employees of Anniston Army Depot - all military Veterans - strolled through the Veterans Cemetery at McClellan, placing flags at each headstone.

The nearly silent ceremony, held Nov. 9 shortly after the conclusion of the depot's Veterans Day Ceremony, brought the installation's Veterans Day commemorations full circle by honoring all Veterans who serve or have served in the U.S. military, both past and present.

The ceremony began with the placement of a wreath at the cemetery and ended with the playing of Taps.

ANAD participates in local Veterans Day parades

As part of its community relations program, Anniston Army Depot Commander Col. Brent Bolander and Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Marcon waved to crowds along the streets of Gadsden, Anniston and Talladega during the three cities' Veterans Day parades.

The Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association held their annual Patriots Day Program Nov. 7, which was followed by the Veterans Day parade for the city of Gadsden on Broad Street.

Saturday, Nov. 10, Battle Street in Talladega was the scene for numerous antique cars, three local marching bands and the depot's Stryker vehicle.

The third parade was held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, on Noble Street in Anniston where the depot anchored the parade.