Every day should be a day to honor the nation's veterans, according to Keith Davidson, who is a current past State American Legion Commander.
He was the keynote speaker at Veterans' Day ceremonies Monday morning at Sheridan's VA Medical Center. He urged the audience of veterans, their spouses and families, staff, and friends to seek opportunities to thank veterans for serving their country.
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The annual VA ceremonies began at 11 in the morning on Veterans' Day, in memory of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The past American Legion commander and VA Director Debra Hirschman spoke of the history of Veterans Day, which was observed nationally as Armistice Day beginning in 1931, then was dedicated as Veterans Day in 1954.
VA Chaplain, the Rev. Derek Schultz, presented the invocation and benediction and read letters from senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis.
In his letter, Sen. Enzi also urged people to “remember to thank a veteran” for his or her service. Barrasso wrote that Veterans Day should be “a day of reflection and commemorance,” and Lummis spoke directly to veterans in the audience, writing, “Veterans, you have done your duty. Thank you and God bless you.”
Hirschman told the audience, “Freedom isn't free,” and cited the numbers of military men and women who died in World War II, Vietnam and recent wars. She added there are 22 million living veterans in the nation.
Davidson, an Air Force veteran who worked at the Sheridan VAMC for 30 years, said 55,000 veterans live in Wyoming. He said a reunion for Vietnam veterans, set for 2015 in Casper, is in the beginning stages of planning.