FAIRBORN — Members of the community, students, dignitaries and military joined together at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at the Fairborn Veterans Memorial to pay tribute to those who have served.
American Legion Post 526 Commander Chuck Knaub led the annual ceremony with participation from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base color guard, members of the Fairborn High School Junior ROTC and marching band, and representatives from the Legion Auxiliary, AMVETS and VFW.
Mayor Tom Nagel presented a proclamation recognizing Nov. 11, 2013 as Veterans Day in Fairborn and encouraged citizens to commend American veterans for their service, including the nearly 3,300 veterans living in the city today, according to the US Census Bureau.
“Today we gather to thank all the veterans who have gone before us and we gather to recognize those in the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard, who have sacrificed both in war and in peace to protect American and the American way of life,”said guest speaker Col. Cassie Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing at WPAFB.
The commander pointed out that of the nearly 29,000 employees at the base, many live within Fairborn. These active duty and reservists can be seen in uniform at the grocery store or school events.
“We are surrounded by a community that wraps its arms around us and supports our active military, but there are also those who no longer actively serve and no longer wear the uniform,” Barlow said. “They are our neighbors standing here with us today…If it were possible to call every name in thanks, we would.”
American Legion Auxiliary Unit president Pam Bates spoke of their members nationwide dedicating nearly a century to meeting the needs of the nation’s veterans, military and their families. They have volunteered millions of hours yearly, with a value of nearly $2 billion.
“Thank you for serving this great country. Thank you for protecting us. Thank you for the security we have and feel here at home,” Bates addressed the veterans on behalf of the auxiliary. “We know you and your families have sacrificed much for this country and all of us. And though many here today no longer wear the uniform, we know you’re always on call to serve and protect the freedom and security of the United States of America.”
The commanders of the local American Legion, AMVETS and VFW were joined by the mayor to salute as a wreath was placed on the Veterans Memorial, followed by the singing of “God Bless America” by a group of Baker Middle Schools students. The ceremony ended with a firing squad salute and the playing of Taps.