NMCP honors veterans

| November 15, 2013 | 0 Comments
Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, addresses U.S. military veterans, past and present, during the official Veterans Day ceremony at the National Memorial of the Pacific, here, Nov. 11.

Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, addresses U.S. military veterans, past and present, during the official Veterans Day ceremony at the National Memorial of the Pacific, here, Nov. 11.

Story and photos by
Sgt. 1st Class Crista Mack
U.S.Army-Pacific Public Affairs

HONOLULU — Veterans were officially recognized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl, with a commemoration ceremony, Monday.

The ceremony was officiated by Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, U. S. Army-Pacific, and narrated by retired Col. Ralph Hiatt, vice president, Oahu Veterans Council.

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from Kahuku High School unfurl the U.S. flag in honor of Veterans Day during the official Veterans Day ceremony at the National Memorial of the Pacific, here, Nov. 11.

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from Kahuku High School unfurl the U.S. flag in honor of Veterans Day during the official Veterans Day ceremony at the National Memorial of the Pacific, here, Nov. 11.

“We are here to honor our veterans, past and present, for their unwavering service to the nation and for the sacrifices to the nation and their families,” said Brooks. “All of our veterans have given something of themselves to defend this country, and some have given all to defend the freedoms we hold so dear. Today, we especially honor those great veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty.”

Sponsored by the Oahu Veterans Council, more than 20 veterans service organizations laid wreaths, and retired Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Bob Talmadge led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Also participating in the ceremony were a joint service color guard, a 311th Signal Command (Theater) rifle squad, and the Kahuku High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets conducted a flag detail with a massive U.S. flag and assisted with escorts during the wreath laying.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is a captain in the Hawaii Army National Guard, was the featured distinguished speaker. She paid tribute to all veterans, including the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient.

“He is a man who served our country with tremendous courage and honor in uniform, kicking down doors of prejudice and discrimination while always leading by example,” said Gabbard. “He went on to dedicate the rest of his life to the service of Hawaii and our country, and set the standard for what it means to be a servant leader.”

Gabbard, herself a veteran of two tours downrange, wore her uniform to the event, rather than civilian attire.

Veterans and family members of the famed 442nd Infantry Regiment place a wreath in memory of their comrades and kin.

Veterans and family members of the famed 442nd Infantry Regiment place a wreath in memory of their comrades and kin.

“Remember that the heavy responsibility we carry, both as veterans and civilians alike, is to honor those who made that ultimate sacrifice for us,” she said. “We (as veterans) remember to be grateful for the breath in our bodies and the life in our souls, and for the blessings that surround us every day.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, 23 million veterans and 57 million military members were recognized Monday.

“Let us remember the price veterans pay and their families pay — physically, mentally, emotionally — to keep this nation free and safe,” said Brooks. “To honor them, we must keep the promises made to properly care for the injured, to remember those that died and support those still serving.”

The ceremony concluded with the playing of taps and retiring of the colors.

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Category: News, Observances

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