MacDill Veterans Day Ceremony Honors the New Generation

A unit from MacDill Air Force Base's 6th Air Mobility Wing presents the colors at a ceremony honoring Veterans and active-duty military personnel.

Men and women serving at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base honored veterans at a ceremony Tuesday. It’s a couple of days early so that the military members can attend community Veterans Day events.

Standing at attention looking east into the morning sun, members of the 6th Air Mobility Wing saluted as the National Anthem played and the colors were presented. There was a simple prayer and then reading of Medal of Honor citations for recipients representing each of the services; Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Marine Corps.

A Marine gunnery sergeant read the citation honoring Cpl. Dakota Meyer. In September 2011, Meyer received the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of more than three dozen U.S. and Afghan forces during a six-hour fire-fight in Afghanistan, but Meyer was unable to save his buddies, three Marines, a Navy Corpsman and an Army soldier. Marine Cpl. Meyer is part of a new generation of veterans.

Col. Dave Almand, vice commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, gave remarks during the Veterans Day ceremony.

Many usually equate Veterans Day with WWII veterans also known as the Greatest Generation, but Col. Dave Almand, vice commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, called the Afghanistan and Iraq veterans the next great generation.

“As a military commander, (I’m) most appreciative of this younger generation,” Almand said after the 30 minute ceremony. “Those who have volunteered to serve after 9-11.”

U.S. troops are scheduled to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, but about 100,000 U.S. military forces are currently serving in Afghanistan.

Veterans Day Ceremonies Begin in the Tampa Bay Area

Floyd Kruszka (left) and Darrell Egner, both veterans of Operation Dragoon, salute the American Flag at a ceremony commemorating the 65th Anniversary of Operation Dragoon, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Aug. 5, 2009. Photo courtesy of Army.mil.

Friday is the official – 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month which marks the end of hostilities – the Armistice from World War I.  Yet many events are planned throughout the week to mark what has become Veterans Day.

NOVEMBER 8 – TUESDAY:

MacDill AFB – It’s not open to the public, however, the 6th Air Mobility Wing at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base and the joint commands located on base will observe Veterans Day at an 8 a.m. ceremony that includes a flyover by a KC-135 Tanker.

USF TAMPA CAMPUS: An early Veterans Day celebration is set Tuesday at Tampa’s University of South Florida Campus featuring the Special Operations Parachute Demonstration Team and Keynote Speaker, General Lloyd “Fig” Newton, USAF (Ret). It’s scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza.

NOVEMBER 11 – FRIDAY:

HALEY VA HOSPITAL – A parade, antique car show and cookout have become a tradition at Tampa’s VA Medical Center. It’s open to the public and is truly a center where Veterans are a huge part of the ceremony and celebration. The parade begins at 10 a.m. including high school bands, the U.S. Central Command Color Guard, AMVETS Riders and  more.

BAY PINES VA: A ceremony honoring the men and women who served features the Keswick Christian High School band, a firing salute, taps performance, and military vehicle display is scheduled at 10 a.m. on the Bay Pines Campus. It’s open to the public, veterans and their families.

A reminder to all Veterans – if you’d like to share your definition on what it means to be a Veteran – email me at bobrien@wusf.org with your comment before Nov. 10th.

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