Hampton VA Medical Center
Veterans Day Celebration
They came to honor veterans who have served. They came to remember that those who serve do so not for glory, or power, or wealth, but for freedom, and that the simple recognition of service well performed ~ a sincere thank you ~ means more to most veterans than any other reward.
The Hampton VA Medical Center Veterans Day Program Nov. 10 was a celebration that brought together uniformed men and women with facility veterans, who proudly entered the lobby to sit together as one. Staff and local dignitaries sat amongst them, sharing stories and thanking all of them for their service to their country.
“We say that every day is Veterans Day at the VA ~ and that is true,” said DeAnne M. Seekins, director of the Hampton VA Medical Center. “But each year on Veterans Day ~ the entire nation honors its first citizens – those who took a solemn oath to protect and defend all that we hold dear. This holiday is truly a day to celebrate and I am pleased and honored that so many of you have come here today to join us in that celebration.”
As the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band Brass Quintet played the service medley, young and old comrades in arms rose from their seats and stood at attention while their respective service anthem sounded throughout the hall. Some sang, others clapped, but all held their heads high as the notes rang throughout the lobby and down the hallways.
“Today we are still a nation at war,” said guest speaker Chief MSgt. Timothy M. Murphy, Security Forces manager, 633rd Security Forces Squadron, stationed at Langley Air Force Base. “In every generation, our sons and daughters continue to step up to answer the call to support and defend our nation and our freedoms. Roughly one percent of our population serves in the greatest military in the world. Their impact and success on the world has defined American as the shining beacon of freedom and hope.”
Murphy shared stories that provided glimpses into his Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom experiences. Somber moments of truth were dashed with tales that made the audience break into laughter and applaud.
“No longer are we fighting in an old-school battle you may have seen in film,” Murphy said. “There is little face to face fighting. When an IED goes off there is no one there to fight. Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom are fought in ways we haven't seen before.”
He explained that now combat includes flying orbits around the earth to provide data links for war fighters. Murphy noted that there are no “front” or “rear” lines anymore, and that assignments such as convoys and urban warfare have made the war era unique but emphasized that technology is not the key.
“The success of our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, is not the sophisticated aircraft, missiles, rockets, satellites, powerful weapons or cyber technology,” Murphy said. “The true strength of our military is seen in the American spirit of that one percent that continues to step up when our national security is challenged.”