Crowds gathered in front of the Veterans Memorial at Hanover Wayside Park Monday, under a full autumn sun and crisp breeze, to honor those who have served in the armed services.
The Hanover Veterans Committee sponsored this year’s Veterans Day observance. Jack Ward, co-founder of that organization, served as this year’s master of ceremonies.
“We are the home of freedom, because we are the home of the brave,” Ward told the crowd gathered Nov. 11.
“The names on that wall – they gave their tomorrows so we can have today. Honoring them is the right thing to do,” Ward added, referring to the names of those etched in stone at the memorial.
Dedicated in 2007, the Hanover Veterans Memorial honors military veterans who were killed in hostile action from World War I to the present day as well as those who have or are currently serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.
After an invocation by Father Jay Wagner, of Church of the Redeemer in Mechanicsville, performance of the National Anthem by Rick Melchor, and Pledge of Allegiance led by George Condyles IV, of the Hanover Veterans Committee, Ward introduced this year’s guest speaker, Brig. Gen. William C. Jones, Ret., United States Air Force.
Jones praised the efforts of those involved with making the memorial a reality.
He also reminded those in attendance that Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I. It received its current designation in 1954, as a way to honor the service of all veterans.
“It is fitting that we meet here at the Hanover Veterans Memorial to continue that tradition,” Jones said.
Following Jones’ remarks, the VFW Post 9808 Color Guard, commanded by John Mertens, was called into formation, climbing a hill overlooking the memorial, as members of American Legion Post 175 laid the memorial wreath. Atlee’s Air Force JROTC conducted the flag ceremony.
Rifle fire signified this year’s salute as taps sounded, filling Wayside Park with the somber reminder of many servicemen’s sacrifice.
Greg Sager, director of Hanover Parks and Recreation, closed this year’s Veterans Day observation by thanking all in attendance. Sager also read off the list of new names inducted into the memorial this year, which include Van Barfoot, Andrew Barker, Carlson Barker, Sgt. Jernigan (no first name provided), Edward Middlebrook, Thomas Shearer, J.E. Sheffield, Carl Simpson and Carl Sitter.
For information on how to honor a member of the armed service, visit the Hanover Parks and Recreation website www.co.hanover.va.us/parksrec/vetmemorial.
Those interested in joining the Hanover Veterans Committee are urged to contact Sager, at (804) 365-7150.