For the first time in three years due to the worldwide pandemic, BVA National President Joe McNeil and Director of District 1 Wanda Grover joined other Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) in presenting an organizational wreath at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Veterans Day. The symbolic gesture paying tribute to all veterans capped off a day of memorable activities for BVA in and around a rainy Nation’s Capital.
The laying of the BVA wreath followed the traditional dignitary wreath laying precisely at 11:11am, witnessed by President McNeil and performed on this occasion by Vice President Kamala Harris and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Afterward, the Vice President joined Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough and Vietnam Veterans of America National President Jack McManus in addressing veterans and the general public willing to brave the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole in the cemetery’s adjacent Memorial Amphitheater. To view the Veterans Day Observance veterans in its entirety, click here.
President McNeil began his Veterans Day well before dawn to attend a breakfast for VSO presidents and commanders at the White House. Following the Vice President’s wreath laying, he was seated on the same amphitheater platform as the other dignitaries and introduced as the BVA National President.
With rain poncho in place and the BVA flag firmly in a harness at his waste, Mid-Atlantic Regional Group Vice President and Washington, DC, resident Lawrence Harrison then marched with the flag in the ceremonial Parade of Colors. His friend and fellow veteran, Mike Jenkins, carried the United States flag.
Vietnam Veterans of America, the host organization for all of the day’s events by virtue of their membership on the Veterans Day National Committee to which BVA also belongs, hosted a lunch reception at the Military Women’s Memorial also attended by President McNeil and Director Grover. They were accompanied at the reception and throughout much of the day by BVA Director of Member Relations Brigitte Jones and Director of Public Relations Stuart Nelson.