My name is Kevin Young, Executive Director here at Pasadena Highlands. I welcome our residents, family members, invited guests, Boy Scout Troop 355 of San Marino and especially the guests of honor, our US Military Veterans to our Veterans Day Ceremony. There are men and women present here today who served with dedication and distinction in World War II and The Korean War.
Mr. Mason on left and Mr. Kevin Young, Executive Director of Pasadena Highlands, Veteran's Day Ceremony, 11-11-16
A brief history of Veterans Day: It was 11:00 am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that the guns fell silent and an end to arguably the bloodiest conflict known to man was pronounced. This day would be known as Armistice Day, and was designated a holiday in 1938. In 1954 this holiday was expanded from commemorating the end of World War 1 to a day to honor all veterans of wars.
In 1968 a bill was signed into law that made Veterans Day one of the 4 federal holidays that fell on a Monday, thus ensuring a three day weekend for Americans to celebrate. Many veterans groups, State Legislatures and citizens felt this day was of such historical and patriotic importance that in September 1975, November 11, the original Armistice Day, was re-established as the official federal holiday to “Honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good”.
In my capacity as Executive Director, I have had the honor of hosting similar events to try and honor those who bravely served our nation. How can we, the younger generation, adequately show our respect and appreciation to those who fought and served in our military branches to secure our liberties and preserve our way of life? I believe that any attempt, however sincere and heartfelt, will fall woefully short of what these men and women deserve.
We have very accomplished veterans among us, yet few of them speak of their heroism, their sacrifice, and the horrors of combat and the loneliness of being so young and so far from home. Our war veterans did their duty, they answered the call and so many returned home changed people. Some had terrible physical wounds, and so many more had the invisible wounds of what we know now as Post-Traumatic Stress. But they carried on in silence, married their sweetheart, built a home, raised a family and developed a career, all the while not considering themselves heroes. Hero they ask? Not us. We did what we had to do to protect our country and our families and our towns. To them the real heroes are the ones they left on the battlefield. The ones who would never see home again.
I don’t often get a chance to talk about my father, who died when I was young. Veterans Day is one occasion I always have and always will continue to talk about him. Harold Young and four of his bothers enlisted in the US Navy in December 1941. As a combat veteran, he suffered injury on two occasions, the 2nd time ended his military service. He fought in the invasion of North Africa and the invasion of Italy at Salerno, known as Operation Husky. I would pester my dad to tell me war stories, but other than the funny stories, he didn’t discuss it with his family, and now as an adult, I understand why. His brother told me years later when I was an adult that my father felt badly at being sent home after a serious injury and he felt the rest of his life that he let his comrades down. You see, in the midst of doing ones’ military duty, especially in life or death combat, the greater goal of fighting and winning a war to insure our freedom is subordinate to fighting for and protecting your bothers-in-arms. The love of God and Country become secondary to the love of comrades.
I’ve been serving seniors since 1996. I love my work and I love that I get to serve this generation of men and women. Folks that know me realize I have a huge soft spot for those who have served and are serving our country in the military.
I asked earlier how can the younger generations; show our respect and appreciation to you, our veterans residing here at Pasadena Highlands? I suggest the least we can do is announce your name and honor you, honor your bravery and commitment in fighting for our way of life and thank you for making possible a world that allowed this nation to prosper beyond what was possible for any generation, before or after you.
As I call your name, a member of our staff will present you with a certificate that humbly states our appreciation for your service to the United States of America:
Now Denise Reistetter, our Activities Director, will describe details about our Memorial Table display. I’d also like to note that Denise is a US Army retiree and former member of the US Military Joint Services who served our Nation with distinction.
Ms Denise Reistetter, Activities Director, on left and Mr. Kevin Young, Executive Director, Pasadena Highlands, Veteran's Day Ceremony, 11-11-16