Yokota Air Base, Japan --
Veterans Day is a time to recognize, celebrate and remember the sacrifices of all veterans: Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen.
“We know that freedom is powerful; it is a gift, a treasure,” said Capt. Michael McDonald, 374th Airlift Wing chaplain. “The most significant and important gifts in life are always worth fighting for, and often they come at such a great price.”
Military service is like no other profession; it calls upon its members to possibly pay the ultimate sacrifice, to lay down their lives for their friends, families and freedoms.
“Far less than one percent of our population today is currently defending our nation during a time when we are faced by threats from every corner of the globe,” said Col. Sergio Vega, 374 AW vice commander.
On Nov. 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed an Armistice Day celebration to commemorate the end of World War I, at 11 a.m. of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Later President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who historians note, took more pride in being a Soldier than the President, changed the national holiday’s name to Veterans Day in 1954.
During the Veterans Day Ceremony at Yokota a remembrance was held by members of Team Yokota including: the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9555, Yokota’s Girl and Boy Scouts, base leadership and residents.
During the ceremony 3 flowers were set upon a memorial by members of Post 9555. A white rose was placed as a symbol of purity for the future generation to emulate the unselfish courage of all who fought for freedom. A red rose was a tribute to the memory of fallen service members. The blue rose was placed as an emblem of valor and the brave deeds performed by all those who served on land, at sea and in the air.
Service Before Self, in the Air Force, and in every service, is a foundation that binds veterans past and present. For more than 70 years, the USAF has been breaking barriers: speed, range, precision, diversity and the boundaries of space. Although faced with different challenges, today’s veterans are no different than those of our past.
“Our veterans selflessly laid the foundation of our nation,” said Vega. “We remember our veterans, those who have been laid to rest and our living veterans whose service and sacrifice represent the very best of America. Our history is filled with their brave actions and quiet courage.”
Airmen today inherit an Air Force forged through the ingenuity, courage and strength of the men and women who preceded them. It’s the duty of all Airmen to continue providing the nation and the next generation of Airmen an equally dominant Air Force.