The American Legion Posts of Calvert County held a Veterans Day Service at the Calvert County Courthouse on November 11, 2016 on the Veterans Green. The posting of the colors was done by Calvert, Huntingtown, Patuxent and Northern NJROTC and the Calvert County Civil Air Patrol. Tina Fratantuono sang the National Anthem and Robert E King of Post 220 offered the invocation. To complete the opening ceremony, the Calvert County Civil Air Patrol placed the POW/MIA Flag at the lectern and American Legion County Commander Jay Bolles led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Nathan Stevens introduced the VIP’s attending the ceremony, including Commissioners Pat Nutter, Mike Hart, Tom Hejl and Steve Weems, Sheriff Mike Evans, Senator Steve Waugh and Public Service Commissioner Tony O’Donnell. Register of Wills Margaret Phipps sent her regrets on not being able to attend.
Commander Jay Bolles gave the welcome address, reading from the American Legion Veterans Day Speech of 2016. In part it read “Veterans come in all shapes and sizes. Young and old – rich and poor – black and white – and nearly every category in between, they are men and women who served or still serve America.”
“We need to remember their families are diverse as well. We need to remember the wives who briefly but anxiously dreaded every doorbell ring or telephone call as their husbands witnessed unspeakable horrors while fighting in hard to pronounce villages that most Americans could never find on a map. We need to remember the modern military families, who deal with frequent address changes, interrupted employment by spouses and a disproportionate sharing of parental responsibilities”.
“While their numbers are decreasing, too many veterans are still homeless. In 2014 an estimated 50,000, homeless veterans were identified around the nation”.
“Let us remember the estimated 20 veterans a day, who commit suicide and that approximately 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And we should frequently remind employers that veterans have been tested under pressure, have completed unique training, and have displayed leadership qualities that would benefit any organization”.
NJROTC and Civil Air Patrol members spoke on what Veterans Day meant to them. Then they took part in the wreath laying at the Korea/Vietnam, World War II/Desert Storm, World War I, and Iraq/Afghanistan memorials with a veteran.
Post 85, 206, 220 and 274 Rifle Squad gave the gun salute with TAPS played by a member of the Civil Air Patrol. Thirty seconds of silent prayer followed.
The guest speaker was Senator Steve Waugh. He reminded us to remember people and times from our past, who became your friends for life. He spoke about the elite warriors from all over the country. He also reminded us of locals who gave their lives in service such as Arick L Lore, James Stallings, Jesse Williams and Norman Gray. He also reminded us of those who are still with us such as Former Secretary Bernie Fowler.
Tina Fratantuono offered two more patriotic songs, American the beautiful and God Bless America with those in the audience joining her. Robert E King, American Legion Post 220 gave the benediction. It was announced there would be an open house at Arick L Lore American Legion Post 274 in Lusby for all.
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Margit Miller / Calvert Beacon