Vets Honored on Their Day
A Marine tends the wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Photo by Jeff Malet / www.maletphoto.com.
Blinded veterans and their families throughout the country, independently or through activities organized by their regional groups, joined National President Dr. Roy Kekahuna on November 11 in honoring U.S. service members who have sacrificed to preserve America’s freedom.
Parades, memorial services, and social gatherings were all part of the BVA activities, which occurred in a host of different settings and conditions.
“For us who enjoyed it in the Nation’s Capital, Veterans Day 2010 was, as always, memorable and emotional, but this year it was also an unusually beautiful autumn day,” said Roy, one of 25 National Commanders and Presidents representing organizations belonging to the Veterans Day National Committee (VDNC).
As such, following the traditional White House Breakfast hosted this year by Vice President Joe Biden, Roy witnessed from a tow line the customary wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
He also sat immediately behind the podium from which Vice President Biden, Secretary Shinseki, and Legion of Valor National Commander Roger Dimsdale addressed the standing-room-only, sun-drenched gathering at the National Veterans Day Observance that followed. He stood as his name and position as BVA National President were read by Master of Ceremonies Jim Benson.
In near 70-degree temperatures, Roy and White River Junction Vermont Regional Group secretary/treasurer Scott Carruthers joined approximately 30 other entities who presented organizational wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
In the Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater, Vice President Biden praised veterans for the foresight demonstrated by their willingness to defend American freedoms.
“I look out at all of you who've served our nation and all of you who have stood by their sides and waited as they've served, and I see the most tested among us, the most tested of all Americans,” he said. “I also see the most honorable men and women, citizens who have never feared the future and are determined to build a better future today."
“The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band provided a medley of patriotic musical prelude numbers and accompaniment for audience participation in a rendition of “God Bless America” prior to the retiring of the colors.
National Headquarters staff members Tom Miller, Tom Zampieri, Christina Hitchcock, and Steve and Suzanne Matthews accompanied the visitors to the traditional VDNC reception, hosted this year by the Legion of Valor at the National Press Club in downtown Washington. Also attending all of the events were Field Service Representative Claudia Perry and new Mid-Atlantic Regional Group member Jim Vale.