Each year on Veterans Day, headed up by retired military veterans Fred Murphy (Director of Maintenance) and Roger Burton (Chief of the security staff) and Jose Morlett (DRACO), the staff of the Great Northwest Community Improvement Association puts together a ceremony honoring those that have served.
What I have learned since retiring from the military is, not all employers offer Veteran's Day as a day off, so I just haven't been a regular at these events. Today I took the day off from work and was extremely pleased to join the audience for this moving and enjoyable ceremony. And honestly, we could not have asked for a better day with this Chamber of Commerce-like weather.
Soon to be retired Lt Col Brian Stives MC'd the event. Joining him to provide the invocation, Irwin Loud, Jr, LTC Retired, and to provide the keynote address, Ralph L. Kuster, Jr, Col Retired.
We were entertained with several wonderful musical selections from the Timberwilde School Choir. In addition to singing quite well for a young group, the kids were wonderfully well behaved considering the sun bearing down upon them.
Col Kuster, a former F-105 fighter/bomber pilot with 110 combat missions over North Vietnam and unfortunately, one sortie that didn't make it back to base, told a story of how he never fully understood the significance of Veteran's Day (or Armistice Day as it was called when he was a child). He had watched the parades and later as a Boy Scout, proudly marched in those parades. As a member of the military, he participated in parades and began to fell like part of the team. But Col Kuster explained to the assembled crowd and the attentive students, in 1967 he was shot down behind enemy lines. Luckily for him, he was picked up by Air Force ParaJumpers as his fellow pilots circled above him to secure the area. But many of his fellow servicemen were not as lucky and they spent time as prisoners of war. It was this that finally made him understand the deep pride that those who had served before him felt.
Following the stirring speech, and as Taps and Echo was performed by Warren High student Daniel Flores and retired MSgt Keith Kolars, several veterans put wreaths at the base of flags in the Great Northwest's memorial to those who have served.
Following the ceremony, attendees were invited to enjoy refreshments inside the lodge of the Great Northwest where staff served up cake and such.
I hope that for many of you, this was not just a day off, but at least worth a few moments of reflection and thanks for those that have and continue to serve.
About Your Host
- San Antonio, TX, United States
- I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.
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