Fort Drum— In observance for Veterans Day, Fort Drum held their annual ceremony honoring all Veterans who have fought in wars. From recent Veterans either transitioning out of the military or still active duty, deploying numerous times to Iraq, Afghanistan or both- Veterans ought to be appreciated everyday.
ABC50 filmed Fort Drum’s ceremony, as Major General Mark A. Milley reminded everyone of the sacrifices soldiers and families go through in order to protect this great nation. Major General Milley told ABC50 and reporters who were present that:
“Both of my parents were in the military, mother was in the Navy, father fought with the 4th Marine division in the pacific. Uncles and cousins, lots of extended family has served. Service has been a part of my family since I can remember. So, from a personal stand point Veterans Day is a big deal. My children have grown up in the military, multiple moves, multiple schools like all of our children. But more importantly there are 20,000 soldiers and as their Commanding General I am also responsible for them and they too are my family- 298 of them have given their lives over the last 10 years for this country. So in a very personal way, that’s how I celebrate and remember Veterans day- it’s about the fallen hero’s of this great division.”
Military families take the brunt of the sacrifice, often going unnoticed by the majority of civilians who do not understand what it is like to survive through deployments. However, post-deployment adjustment is often just as difficult to deal with as war itself.
Military spouses care for children, run the home, and continue to be that encouraging voice that gives soldiers the courage to fight another day. Then once soldier’s come home the transition is often a challenge, Post Traumatic Stress has taken a toll on Veteran’s returning from war. According to the Institute of Medicine most recent study released July 13 of this year, approximately “13 to 20 percent of the 2.6 million U.S. service members who have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 may have PTSD.”
President Wilson in 1919 decided that November 11th would be “Armistice Day” after World War I ended via the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. Germany and Alliance nations ceased the fight on the eleventh hour of the eleventh month and on the eleventh day. Wilson proclamation Armistice Day, which is now known as Veteran’s Day as a day of reflection and gratitude:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
Since President Wilson decided November 11th would be Armistice day, it was later that President Dwight D. Eisenhower would issue a public statement on October 8th, which was considered the “Veteran’s Day Proclamation.”
“In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”
Fort Drum is a major part of Jefferson County’s community being the largest employer in Northern New York and with over 80,000 troops at Fort Drum annually. Many families- military spouses, children and soldiers are a huge part of our North Country community. ABC50 thanks all of the soldiers and their families that have dedicated their lives, sacrificing for the United States of America and world peace.