Veterans Day -- honoring those who served

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Veterans Day -- honoring those who served“Veterans Day is a day we need to remember. We should never forget the countless Americans who have devoted themselves in service to our country,” guest speaker Lt. Derrick Horne, chaplain at the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, reminded those present at this year’s Veterans Day Service at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ship 4084.

In his moving speech, Horne commented that “When we look back over history from 1775 to 2013, there have been nearly 42 million men and women who have served during war. In addition, there have been 651,031 of our military members who have lost their lives in battle. Furthermore, there have been 1.5 million that have been wounded.

“While those numbers are staggering, to say the least, they only represent three percent of our population. This should cause us to remember incredible commitment, devotion and sacrifice,” said Horne.

“They represent all that is good about us. They represent our power over an enemy. They represent the peace that had to be won. They are our remembrance, as are all our veterans.

“He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel. She — or he—is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang. He is the POW who went away one person and came back another — or didn’t come back at all. He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat — but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.

“He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. He is the three anonymous heroes in the Tomb of the Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor died unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep.

“He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

“He or she is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.”

The service was held at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, in honor of the World War I Armistice, which went into effect at that memorable time.

Boy Scouts of America were on hand, as were a color guard, military representatives and many local veterans.

Story First Published: 2013-11-13