Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Cloudy
40°
Cloudy
Hi 40° | Lo 29°

US pays tribute to sacrifices of veterans

  • United States Army Sgt. Zach Ames, center, who has been on a one-year deployment to Afghanistan, surprises his wife, Bri Ames, left, and their daughter Emersyn, right, with a reunion prior to an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

    United States Army Sgt. Zach Ames, center, who has been on a one-year deployment to Afghanistan, surprises his wife, Bri Ames, left, and their daughter Emersyn, right, with a reunion prior to an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • President Barack Obama speaks during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery Amphitheater in Arlington, Va., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    President Barack Obama speaks during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery Amphitheater in Arlington, Va., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Military Veterans sit a listen to a Veterans Day Tribute ceremony, during which they will receive their high school diplomas that they did not get since they left school to serve in the military at Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg, NJ, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/The Express-Times, Matt Smith)

    Military Veterans sit a listen to a Veterans Day Tribute ceremony, during which they will receive their high school diplomas that they did not get since they left school to serve in the military at Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg, NJ, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/The Express-Times, Matt Smith)

  • Mike Hoover, pictured, with American Legion Post 568, in Stevensville, Mich., stands at attention Sunday, November 11, 2012, during a Veterans Day Salute held at the Lincoln Township Cemetery, in Stevensville, Mich. (AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)

    Mike Hoover, pictured, with American Legion Post 568, in Stevensville, Mich., stands at attention Sunday, November 11, 2012, during a Veterans Day Salute held at the Lincoln Township Cemetery, in Stevensville, Mich. (AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)

  • LeRoy Grosskreutz of the VFW Post 388 Honor Guard uses a hammer to ring a bell during Veterans Day ceremonies at VFW Post 388 in Wausau, Wis., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Wausau Daily Herald, Dan Young)

    LeRoy Grosskreutz of the VFW Post 388 Honor Guard uses a hammer to ring a bell during Veterans Day ceremonies at VFW Post 388 in Wausau, Wis., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Wausau Daily Herald, Dan Young)

  • Pictures of WWII veterans are carried up New York's Fifth Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    Pictures of WWII veterans are carried up New York's Fifth Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • WWII veteran Eugene Cannava, 86, from New York, left, chats with Korean War veteran Samuel Benchimol, 81, from Glen Head, N.Y., as they wait to march up New York's Fifth Avenue in the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    WWII veteran Eugene Cannava, 86, from New York, left, chats with Korean War veteran Samuel Benchimol, 81, from Glen Head, N.Y., as they wait to march up New York's Fifth Avenue in the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • American flags wave in the wind in honor of Veterans Day Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, at Peace Lutheran Church in St. Joseph, Mich .(AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)

    American flags wave in the wind in honor of Veterans Day Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, at Peace Lutheran Church in St. Joseph, Mich .(AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)

  • Members of the U.S. Army Reserves do cadence as they wait to march up New York's Fifth Avenue in the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012.   (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    Members of the U.S. Army Reserves do cadence as they wait to march up New York's Fifth Avenue in the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • Jamie Trachtenberg, of Chicago, Illinois, right, holds her son Evan Trachtenberg, 2, as they and others watch the Veterans Day Parade makes it's way up New York's Fifth Avenue Sunday Nov. 11, 2012.   (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    Jamie Trachtenberg, of Chicago, Illinois, right, holds her son Evan Trachtenberg, 2, as they and others watch the Veterans Day Parade makes it's way up New York's Fifth Avenue Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • The American flag is carried up New York's Fifth Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    The American flag is carried up New York's Fifth Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • Vietnam War veterans Fred Reiman, of Norwood, N.J., left, and Rick Frato, of Township of Washington, N.J., wait to take part in the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012 in New York.  Both Rieman and Frato are with the Nam Knights. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    Vietnam War veterans Fred Reiman, of Norwood, N.J., left, and Rick Frato, of Township of Washington, N.J., wait to take part in the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012 in New York. Both Rieman and Frato are with the Nam Knights. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • United States Army Sgt. Zach Ames, center, who has been on a one-year deployment to Afghanistan, surprises his wife, Bri Ames, left, and their daughter Emersyn, right, with a reunion prior to an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
  • President Barack Obama speaks during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery Amphitheater in Arlington, Va., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Military Veterans sit a listen to a Veterans Day Tribute ceremony, during which they will receive their high school diplomas that they did not get since they left school to serve in the military at Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg, NJ, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/The Express-Times, Matt Smith)
  • Mike Hoover, pictured, with American Legion Post 568, in Stevensville, Mich., stands at attention Sunday, November 11, 2012, during a Veterans Day Salute held at the Lincoln Township Cemetery, in Stevensville, Mich. (AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)
  • LeRoy Grosskreutz of the VFW Post 388 Honor Guard uses a hammer to ring a bell during Veterans Day ceremonies at VFW Post 388 in Wausau, Wis., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Wausau Daily Herald, Dan Young)
  • Pictures of WWII veterans are carried up New York's Fifth Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • WWII veteran Eugene Cannava, 86, from New York, left, chats with Korean War veteran Samuel Benchimol, 81, from Glen Head, N.Y., as they wait to march up New York's Fifth Avenue in the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • American flags wave in the wind in honor of Veterans Day Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, at Peace Lutheran Church in St. Joseph, Mich .(AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)
  • Members of the U.S. Army Reserves do cadence as they wait to march up New York's Fifth Avenue in the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012.   (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • Jamie Trachtenberg, of Chicago, Illinois, right, holds her son Evan Trachtenberg, 2, as they and others watch the Veterans Day Parade makes it's way up New York's Fifth Avenue Sunday Nov. 11, 2012.   (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • The American flag is carried up New York's Fifth Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • Vietnam War veterans Fred Reiman, of Norwood, N.J., left, and Rick Frato, of Township of Washington, N.J., wait to take part in the Veterans Day Parade Sunday Nov. 11, 2012 in New York.  Both Rieman and Frato are with the Nam Knights. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

In California, a long legal case drew to a close as a war memorial cross that had been deemed unconstitutional was being resurrected Sunday in the Mojave desert, capping a landmark case for veterans fighting similar battles on public lands.

Sunday marked the official commemoration of Veterans Day, but the federal holiday will be observed Monday.

Virginia

President Barack Obama laid the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and noted that this is the first Veterans Day in a decade with no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq, and that a decade of war in Afghanistan is coming to a close.

In a speech at the Memorial Amphitheater, he said America will never forget the sacrifice made by its veterans and their families.

“No ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service,” the president said, adding that the country must commit every day “to serving you as well as you’ve served us.”

He spoke of the Sept. 11 generation, “who stepped forward when the Towers fell, and in the years since have stepped into history, writing one of the greatest chapters in military service our country has ever known.”

Over the next few years, he said, more than 1 million service members will make the transition to civilian life. “As they come home, it falls to us, their fellow citizens, to be there for them and their families, not just now but always.”

Later, the president and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, greeted families in the cemetery’s Section 60, home to graves of service members killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

California

In California, a war memorial cross that once stood on a rocky hilltop in a national park before being deemed unconstitutional and ordered removed was being resurrected in the stunningly stark Mojave desert, marking the end of a longstanding legal dispute that had become entangled in patriotism and religion.

Henry Sandoz, who cared for the original cross as part of a promise to a dying World War I veteran, will rededicate a new, 7-foot steel cross on the same hilltop. The site is now in private hands as part of a land swap with the National Park Service that ended the legal battle.

“Judges and lawyers may have played their roles, but it was the veterans who earned this memorial, and it is for them it rises once more,” said attorney Hiram Sasser of the Texas-based Liberty Institute, which represented veterans in the legal fight.

The settlement approved by a federal judge in April permitted the Park Service to turn over the acre of land known as Sunrise Rock to a Veteran of Foreign Wars post in Barstow and the Veterans Home of California-Barstow in exchange for five acres of donated property elsewhere in the 1.6 million acre preserve, about a four-hour drive east of Los Angeles.

The donated land was owned by Sandoz and his wife, Wanda, of Yucca Valley.

Sandoz has cared for the memorial as a promise to World War I veteran Riley Bembry, who with other shell-shocked vets went to the desert to help heal and erected a wooden cross on Sunrise Rock in 1934. It was later replaced with a cross made of steel pipes.

Then Sunrise Rock became part of the Mojave National Preserve in 1994, putting the Christian symbol on public land.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2001 on behalf of a retired Park Service employee who argued the cross was unconstitutional on government property because of the separation of church and state, and federal courts ordered it removed.

Congress stepped in and ordered the land swap in 2003, but the courts rejected the transfer. The issue made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in April 2010 refused to order the cross removed.

New York City

Storm-ravaged New York hosted the country’s largest Veterans Day parade with turnout sparse along portions of the 30-block route along Fifth Avenue.

Standing in warm fall sunshine, officials said veterans should be honored and remembered more than just one day a year.

“This nation has a special obligation to take care of you,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told the crowd.

Several officials also made a note of mentioning Vietnam veterans. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

One Vietnam vet, 66-year-old Laurence Lynch of New York, said simply, “It’s about time. It’s about time.”

Along a number of blocks of the parade route, just a few dozen spectators were lined along the barricades.

Candice and Jeffrey Stark stood nearly alone on one stretch, waving tiny American flags. “We are shocked,” Candice Stark said. “Very disappointed and terribly appalled. Don’t get me started!”

The Long Island couple was among the many residents displaced by the storm. The military has been very visible in the Sandy cleanup, so the Starks said they went to the parade to show their appreciation.

Los Angeles

In an event befitting the nation’s movie capital, the GI Film Festival Hollywood was launched this weekend in Los Angeles.

Films at the two-day festival highlighted the successes and sacrifices of American military personnel and the worldwide struggle for democracy, said festival co-founder Brandon Millett. Movies must have at least one main character, real or fictitious, who plays a military role with respect.

The festival’s mission is to preserve the stories of American vets, he said.

“We noticed a lot of films portray GIs in an unfavorable light,” said Millett, who founded the festival with his wife, a West point graduate. “We wanted to show the courage, the heroism and the sacrifice of men and women in uniform.”

The festival showcased eight feature films culled from Millett’s annual GI Film Festival held in Washington, D.C., in May, and debuted short films made by filmmakers who are veterans. It also recognized actors for their contributions to the U.S. Armed Forces and held a fundraising auction to benefit the Semper Fi Fund, which aids wounded Marines and their families.

“We show all aspects of the GI experience, in the arena of war and when they come home,” Millett said.

Chicago

Chicago’s National Veterans Art Museum unveiled its latest exhibit called “Welcome Home” as it celebrated its grand reopening in a new location.

“‘Welcome home’ is the customary message given to soldiers returning from war,” a museum statement said. “After this initial greeting, familiarity dissolves and the traumas of war surface. Veterans set out to relearn the world they left behind, and their family meets a transformed person.”

The exhibit is part of a series that examines the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the rising need for mental health care for returning veterans

The museum has more than 2,500 works of veterans’ art with the mission of inspiring greater understanding of the real impact of war with an emphasis on Vietnam. The museum focuses art inspired by combat and created by veterans.

Las Vegas

A Las Vegas casino rolled out the red carpet for some 60 injured veterans in a special Veterans Day weekend trip.

The annual “Salute to the Troops” weekend started with free American Airlines flights for veterans and their guests and a welcoming committee of MGM Resorts employees Thursday.

Employees held welcome signs, waved flags and chanted “USA” as the honored guests arrived.

MGM Resorts is hosting the veterans free at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, and treating them to a variety of attractions and shows during the five-day trip that ends Monday.

Their itinerary includes a ventriloquist show, a trip to the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage, and the Aviation Nation air show at Nellis Air Force Base.

Related

Northampton salutes veterans with parade and ceremony

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NORTHAMPTON — Wayne Lynch woke up Sunday knowing he’d participate in the city’s annual Veterans Day festivities — it’s something he does every year. The Northampton native just didn’t know he’d be one of the stars. Lynch, who retired in July, admitted to being a tad surprised when Mayor David J. Narkewicz asked him to step to the podium shortly …

Veterans Day reflections in Amherst on ‘price of liberty’

Monday, November 12, 2012

AMHERST — On a sunny day with a brisk breeze blowing, about 40 people turned out to the center of Amherst to honor military veterans. Terry Fenstad of Amherst, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, was master of ceremonies during the 45-minute ceremony on the Town Common in front of Town Hall. The main speaker was Victor A. Nuñez Ortiz, …

Wreaths placed at Easthampton monuments honoring veterans

Monday, November 12, 2012

EASTHAMPTON — Easthampton resident Janice Daysh choked back tears Sunday while watching local veterans place wreaths at the town monuments honoring veterans from World War I, World War II the Korean and Vietnam wars. Like many who attend Veterans Day ceremonies, she had a personal connection. “It just makes you very emotional,” she said. “My godfather was in the Army …

Monuments honoring veterans dedicated in Southampton

Monday, November 12, 2012

SOUTHAMPTON — Veterans Day ceremonies here this year will have an impact on the solemn holiday’s observances for years to come. Residents gathered around 2 p.m. to dedicate the town’s new war memorial. Selectman Edward Cauley Edward said putting the monuments up was “way overdue.” The new memorial in front of the Town Hall features two monuments bearing plaques with …

Belchertown observance stresses need to learn from history

Monday, November 12, 2012

BELCHERTOWN — The keynote speaker for Belchertown’s Veterans Day observances stressed the importance of history in a speech Sunday at the Belchertown High School auditorium. Belchertown resident Michael Ross, a veteran of over three decades of service in the Army and the Air Force, stressed the importance of learning from history. He noted that the American military tradition encompassed lessons …

Massachusetts officials recognize women in military

Sunday, November 11, 2012

BOSTON — Massachusetts officials paid special tribute Sunday to women who’ve served in the military during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Statehouse in Boston. The tribute was led by Col. Andrea Gayle-Bennett, a physician’s assistant who has served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard for more than 28 years. She is the recipient of the Massachusetts Women Veteran Network’s …

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.