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.
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.