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Fort Drum leadership recognizes Veterans Day

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FORT DRUM — The efforts of veterans and their contributions to American history were recognized Friday morning at a ceremony in advance of the Veterans Day holiday.

“This uniform that I wear, that all of us on active duty wear, has changed many times in the last 237 years of our Army,” said Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, commander of the post and the 10th Mountain Division. “What has not changed is the courage and determination of the men and women who are willing to serve in times of danger.”

Other speakers during the ceremony at the post’s Memorial Park emphasized the legacy of soldiers in multiple wars. Many of the speakers noted that since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the division has been one of the most deployed in the Army.

Gen. Milley also noted that the military now has more veterans under the age of 25 than it has had in at least four decades.

Behind the lectern, a row of soldiers stood in uniforms from various eras of the division’s history.

The holiday was first commemorated in 1919 as Armistice Day, recognizing the end of fighting during World War I, and became a federal holiday in 1938. The holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Retired Col. Michael T. Plummer, previously the post’s division chief of staff, noted that freedom was not free, and that many soldiers from the division died in support of their country.

As an example, the division lost 1,000 soldiers during World War II, with an additional 3,900 injured during the conflict.

“When you ask the survivors why they did it, they will tell you they did it for their life and for America,” Mr. Plummer said. “Yes, for you and for me, so we could have the freedoms we enjoy today.”

William Morrison, president of the Northern New York chapter of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, used his remarks to provide several pieces of advice for properly recognizing soldiers and veterans: thanking them for their service, welcoming them home and supporting programs that provide for their medical care.

Among the veterans in attendance was Harold G. Sebald, who had fought with the division in Italy during World War II. Mr. Sebald said the opportunity to be on post for the ceremony and think about his fellow soldiers meant a lot to him.

“This is the one day that we can take time to reflect, remember the comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice when they gave up their life in service to their country,” he said.


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