Skip to comments.How silent honor speaks volumes of Veterans Day [Parade, ceremony salute those who have served]
Posted on 11/12/2010 11:34:47 AM PST by SandRat
SIERRA VISTA Silence.
For a short period, it looked as if Col. Frederick Henry was lost after he went to the speakers podium Thursday.
There were no words, but the deputy commander of the Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command (Army) put the crowd into a mood.
Its not very often that a speaker begins with silence. Its uncomfortable, its forced, and we often dont know what to do with silence, he said.
It was a word he would use often in his speech after the annual Sierra Vista Veterans Day parade ended in the most appropriated place Veterans Memorial Park.
Going back to what was called the Great War, the war to end all wars, World War I, he said the conflict shook nations for years.
The armistice was signed to take effect in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Ever since then, nations commemorate that event with a moment of silence, the colonel said.
Around the world, the anniversary of the end of the first world war has many names: Armistice Day, Remembrance Day and Day of Peace. The anniversary of the wars end, the silencing of the cannons, is marked as a day when nations pause in a moment of silence with solemn pride in the remembrance of the heroism of those who have served, those who are currently serving and those who died in our countrys service.
For years in the U.S., the end of World War I was called Armistice Day, only to have the name changed after World War II to Veterans Day, to honor all who have served in Americas conflicts.
Nov. 11 is not a day of celebrating a victory, as proud of that victory we are, but rather it is a day to embrace those who made victory possible, Henry said.
And since Nov. 11, 1918, there have been a number of wars for the United States. Those wars require that we remember those who have served, he said
In this time of persistent conflict, for the better part of a decade, members of Americas armed forces have endured with deployment after deployment to protect the nation, the colonel noted about what is involved with the nations presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Being silent even for a short time is not the American way, he said.
Silence does not come naturally to America. We are loud and busy, constantly moving, Henry said.
He listed how Americans celebrate with fireworks, concerts, parties, picnics, songs and parades.
It is not in our nature to be still or to be silent. You see, silence is something we struggle with, Henry said.
As America is not a silent country, neither is the world, he added.
Our world is not a silent world it is not a peaceful world, either, the colonel remarked.
As Americans struggle to be still for just a moment, our world struggles with war, strife, injustice, hunger, disease and destruction, and it cries out in need, the NETCOM/9th deputy commander said.
Those who have responded to the need are those who have served and are serving in the nations armed forces, Henry said.
A life of service is anything but peaceful, and the sounds of war linger long after service members come home from war, he said.
No, a life of service is not silent, he said.
While soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have busy and noisy lives, their families do know silence, he said. Its an empty time when a loved one is training or deploying or, in sadness, a time when the flag is handed to a grieving love one, Henry said.
The toll of wars
Standing before the colonel were groups of soldiers, airmen and Marines. On Wednesday, the Marine Corps turned 235 years old from the time it was formed. The official Fort Huachuca ball put on by the posts Marine Detachment will be held tonight.
While the colonel did not mention any service member by name, for a local Sierra Vista family and for the uniformed Marines it also is a time to reflect on the personal cost of war.
Lance Cpl. Randy Braggs of Sierra Vista was killed in action in Afghanistan late last week, and his body is returning home within days for burial.
The 21-year-old Braggs is the 10th person with ties to Cochise County to have died in either Afghanistan or Iraq since the start of the war on terrorism.
Silence, like sleep, has a way of healing our spirits. This silence gives us pause from our hectic lives to remember and to find a healing peace in our remembrance of the soldiers, Marines and airmen of the past, Henry said.
Through those periods of silence, we open our spirits to feel the depth of their service and sacrifice, and we honor them by silencing our own personal cannons to give them the full measure of our respect, he said.
Near the end of his comments, Henry asked those in attendance for a brief moment of silence as a way to honor those serving now and past veterans and their families.
Earlier in his speech, he said, To our veterans, to the fallen and to their families, there is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and tour sacrifice. We can only offer this humble moment of silence.
After his speech, the sounds of howitzers, fired by the Fort Huachuca Salute Battery, filled the air, as 21 shots were fired, breaking the silence, followed by the 24 mournful notes of Taps by a member of the posts 36th U.S. Army Band.
Then once again, there was silence.
IN COCHISE COUNTY
Local war losses
Following are the names of 10 members of Americas armed forces with Cochise County connections, starting from most recent date of death, who have lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghan wars:
Marine Lance Cpl. Randy R. Braggs, 21, of Sierra Vista, killed in action in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Nov. 6.
Army Spc. Christian M. Adams of Sierra Vista, died of noncombat wounds in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on June 11, 2010.
Army Staff Sgt. Ernesto Guadalupe Cimarrusti, 25, of Douglas, killed in action in Baghdad, Iraq, on March 10, 2008.
Army Cpl. Victoria Langarica, 29, who was assigned to the 11th Signal Brigade on Fort Huachuca when deployed, killed in action near Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 20, 2007.
Army Spc. Collin R. Schockmel, 19, of Sierra Vista, killed in action in Ramadi, Iraq, on Jan. 16, 2007.
Army Cpl. Casey L. Mellen, 21, of Huachuca City, killed in action in Balad, Iraq, on Sept. 25, 2006.
Army 1st Sgt. Bobby Mendez, 38, a former Fort Huachuca soldier whose family lives in Sierra Vista, killed in action in Baghdad, Iraq, on April 27, 2006.
Army Sgt. Michael Merila, 23, of Sierra Vista, killed in action in northern Iraq on Feb. 16, 2004.
Army Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Nason, 39, who was assigned to the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade on Fort Huachuca when deployed, died in a vehicle accident in northern Iraq on Nov. 23, 2003.
Army Spc. Isaac Campoy, 21, of Douglas, killed in action in an unspecified area of Iraq on Oct. 28, 2003.
Hilary Hickenbottom, 8, watches the Veterans Day parade along Fry Boulevard on Thursday morning.
Many hundreds came out to see the parade, which had a larger-than-usual number of entries.
(Beatrice Richardson) Herald/Review
Thank you so much for posting this...long forgotten, never forgotten.