Honoring All Veterans
Blinded veterans and their families throughout the country
participated in parades, memorial services, receptions, special meals,
and educational forums and classes—all in an effort to remember the
sacrifices of all veterans, both living and those who have gone before.
BVA wreath presented to soliders guarding Tomb of the Unknowns.
“This year we had the benefit of having Veterans Day on Sunday and
then Veterans Day observed on Monday,” said Sean Johnson, OIF blinded
veteran from Aberdeen, South Dakota. “Unless people get confused as to
which day is which, this situation allows us to commemorate the day and
then explain it in schools and other forums the next day.”
Sean, his wife Melissa, and her parents Jim and Linda Cameron were
part of the 13-person BVA contingency attending the annual Veterans Day
ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Sunshine, making possible a
temperature of approximately 68 degrees, drenched capacity crowd in the
cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater as President Barack Obama lay a
wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at 11:00 a.m. sharp in commemoration
of the signing of the armistice ending World War I.
VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, left, greeted BVA’s Sam Huhn at November11 reception hosted by The Retired Enlisted Association.
Following the ceremony, Sean accompanied Sam Huhn and Al Avina in the
traditional VSO presentation of wreaths at the same spot while other
BVA attendees and a crowd from the general public looked on.
The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) was the host organization for
both the cemetery events and the subsequent reception at the cemetery’s
Women in Military Service for America Memorial. TREA National President
offered welcome remarks followed by Secretary Shinseki’s introduction
of the Veterans Day address by President Obama.
Blinded veteran Claudia Perry, right, with uncle Rolando Fuentes and mother Marta Fuentes, in Arlington Cemetery box seats prior to 11 a.m. ceremony.
“Since even before our founding, we have been blessed with an unbroken
chain of patriots who have always come forward to serve,” he said.
“Whenever America has come under attack, you’ve risen to her defense.
Whenever our freedoms have come under assault, you’ve responded with
resolve. Time and again, at home and abroad, you and your families have
sacrificed to protect that powerful promise that all of us hold so
dear—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
BVA contingency prepares to lay wreath with escort assistance from volunteers representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Following the President’s speech, the United States Navy Band provided
musical accompaniment for the retiring of the colors just as it had done
for the earlier entry processional and ceremonial prelude.