News>Kadena servicemembers commemorate Veterans Day
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines raise the flags at Kadena's Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11. Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, was first observed Nov. 11, 1919, one year after fighting ceased for World War I, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it as a day to be filled with "solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service". Brig. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, 18th Wing commander, referred to it as a day in which he is "so proud to be called a veteran." (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Hummel)
Members of the 320th Special Tactical Squadron deliver the flag to the Veterans Day observation ceremony after completing a memorial run across Kadena Nov. 11. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Hummel)
Representatives from all four branches of service look on as retired Command Master Chief Petty Officer Terry Woodcock addresses the crowd at Kadena's Veterans Day observation ceremony Nov. 11. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Hummel)
Marines and Soldiers stand in formation at Kadena's Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11. Kadena is unique in that operations for all four brances occur on the installation. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Hummel)
Larry Strain and Dennis Provencher, Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Pacific Post 9723, reflect solemnly during Kadena's Veterans Day observance Nov. 11. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Hummel)
Brig. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, 18th Wing commander, addresses the crowd at Kadena's Veterans Day observance Nov. 11. Hundreds of Airmen, sailors, soldiers and Marines and their families attended the event held at 18th Wing Headquarters. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Hummel)
by 1st Lt. Bryan Bouchard
18th Wing Public Affairs
11/11/2010 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- As the notes of Taps played, hundreds of servicemembers from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan stood silent, waiting for that final tone and for the command of "dismissed" to be ordered.
This sequence closed the 2010 Veteran's Day remembrance ceremony at the base flag pole in front of 18th Wing headquarters Nov. 11.
"This day honors all American veterans, both living and dead," said retired Master Chief Petty Officer Terry Woodcock, one of the event's two guest speakers. "We thank the living veterans for their dedicated and loyal service to their country."
Also speaking to the crowd and formation of Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel was Mr. Terry Yonkers, the Air Force's Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics.
"It's a humbling experience for me to be here today," he said. "Courage, character, commitment and compassion; these are the attributes I believe we honor, when we honor our veterans."
The ceremony started with a formation of Air Force special operators from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron delivering the American flag. After reveille and the singing of the Japanese and American national anthems, a representative from each of the four branches recited their service's creed. Before the guest speakers started, the Kadena Air Force Junior ROTC drill team performed.
The event only lasted about an hour, but for the large crowd in attendance, it represented the one day a year that is dedicated to them.
"Today, we have more than 500 Kadena Airmen deployed to other parts of the world fighting an enemy that is focused on killing innocents and Americans," said Brig. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, 18th Wing commander and the presiding official for the ceremony."
The general went on to thank the servicemembers in attendance for their sacrifice and dedication. He also made sure to note the others in the audience who sacrifice alongside their veterans.
"I also want to thank the families," he said. "There are many families here whose loved ones are deployed. Let's take care of the families who are here while their husbands or wives are deployed. I want you all to know that we are all family while we're overseas, and as veterans it is important that we take care of each other."
President Woodrow Wilson first commemorated Nov. 11 as Armistice Day in 1919 to honor the veterans of WWI. The day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower, to honor all veterans from all conflicts.