Veterans Day 2015

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I (or the Great War as it was called then) ended in an armistice or temporary ceasefire.  Following the war, the day was set aside to commemorate the personnel who fought in that struggle.  In 1938, Congress made the date a national holiday and in 1954, they changed it to Veterans Day to honor all who have served our nation in the armed forces.

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The traveling Michigan Vietnam Memorial

Last Saturday, the City of Auburn Hills hosted a very important and inspirational program.  The Community Center had on display the traveling Michigan Vietnam Memorial.  The memorial has the names of all Michigan veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War.

A ceremonial flag folding was conducted with each of the 13 folds explained.

A ceremonial flag folding was conducted with each of the 13 folds explained.

In addition to the memorial, there was a display of all the individual flags of the five armed services, accompanied by their musical hymns.  A veteran from the 8th Air Force from World War II recited an original poem.  A ceremonial flag folding was performed and its symbolic 13 folds were explained.  All veterans in the audience received a commemorative medal and a personal salute.  The ceremony ended with a 21 gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”

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The obstacle course was enjoyed by young attendees

But by no means was the day complete.  I took my seven-year-old grandson to the event and there were all types of activities designed for kids.  He was enthralled by a mannequin wearing Desert Storm era uniform, complete with weapons.

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A mannequin outfitted in a Desert Storm-era uniform – complete with a sample weapons and equipment

We checked out a hands-on display of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong arms and uniforms.  He ran an obstacle course as part of the “Kids Boot Camp.” But most exciting of all, he got to fire a 50 caliber machine gun mounted on a WW II era jeep.  His grandpa also got to fire an M-1 Garand rifle from the same war.  Big fun.

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So remember what today means to our country and our veterans. These men and women gave their time, their energy and, in some cases, their limbs or lives.  So, remember, freedom is not free.  Thank a vet today and every day for their service and sacrifice.