FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Veterans Day, a tradition that started at the end of World War One, now honors the sacrifices of servicemembers from across history.
Ahead of the Veterans Day weekend, Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division celebrated local servicemembers at a formal ceremony.
“Today is another year where we pay tribute to military service to our great nation,” Fort Drum Senior Commander Colonel Kendall Clarke said at the ceremony. “Veterans Day reminds us that people are our greatest strength in our army, and who knows what the future will hold.”
Currently, soldiers with Fort Drum’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team are fighting in the Middle East, while 10th Mountain Division headquarters are commanding in Eastern Europe.
This was a relatable hardship for many veterans who attended the ceremony, including U.S. Army Retired Command Sergeant Major Joseph McLaughlin.
“All servicemen and women that are deployed around the world. They’re out, you know, protecting our country everywhere. And I think we’re pretty safe here in the United States of America. We forget that,” CSM (R) McLaughlin expressed. “So by having Veteran’s Day, it kind of brings us all back, to focus back on that, and let them know that we really care about them.”
McLaughlin was a former 10th Mountain Division commander. He was the keynote speaker at the ceremony in Fort Drum’s Magrath Sporting Complex.
The location of the event was meaningful because it is historically where soldiers reunite with their families after deployment.
“I can’t tell you the hundreds of times I’ve been here welcoming soldiers back right here in this gymnasium,” McLaughlin shared. “Being welcomed back myself, and welcoming my son back on this floor, it’s kind of a sacred place.”
An example of the many experiences veterans and active duty servicemembers share.
All reasons why McLaughlin said it’s important for each Veteran to tell their story.
“Being a veteran means sharing the Army’s story. Whether you’re talking to people in your family or talking to total strangers, you should brag about the Army and tell the Army’s story,” the Fort Drum veteran said.
To all veterans and active duty soldiers, thank you for your service and happy veterans day.