To commemorate Veterans Day, American Legion Post 104 and Auxiliary Unit 104 along with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9855 and Auxiliary Unit 9855 will sponsor a ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. at the American Legion Post 104 Headquarters on Oakleigh Avenue in Appomattox.
This is a change in location from Court House Square where many past ceremonies have been held.
The observance that is now called “Veterans Day” began as “Armistice Day.” It is historically significant that this day is usually observed on the month, day and hour that the guns fell silent in World War I — 11:00 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
While the commemoration has strong historical roots, current events continue to add meaning to the ceremony. “Today, thousands of Americans are serving in uniform. They, and the families who wait for them, sacrifice around the globe in the war on terror so that we may remain free. We owe them and all of our veterans a tremendous debt. We must never forget what they have done for us,” Post 104 Commander James A. (Buck) Owen said.
The keynote speaker will be Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Gretchen Evans (retired), who served 27 years in the United States Army. She had numerous assignments worldwide to include several combat deployments. CSM Evans served as an Intelligence Analyst, Counterintelligence Agent, Military Police Officer, Paratrooper and in various positions as a First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major. She is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute, Basic Airborne School, all Non-Commissioned Officer Leadership Schools to include the Sergeant Major Academy.
CSM Evans was wounded by a mortar blast in Afghanistan, which resulted in total hearing loss, a traumatic brain injury and other injuries. In spite of her injuries, she continues to serve her fellow veterans and country as an advocate for those who have been injured or suffer from PTSD and moral injury.
She is an avid runner, hiker, bicyclist and has just competed in the World’s Toughest Race in Fiji, Eco-Challenge 2019 hosted by Bear Grylls. She ran the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 27.
She has authored a book, “Leading from the Front,” which speaks of her time in the service and her courageous soldiers. All proceeds from her book go to America’s VETDOGS to help provide service dogs to veterans and first responders. Her book can be purchased on Amazon or after the program.
She is a graduate and board member of America’s VETDOGS and speaks nationwide for this organization. Her desire through her speaking engagements is to bring understanding and awareness to the challenges our brave and honorable warriors from all eras face.
She currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband Robert, a retired Navy Captain, and her hearing service dog Aura.
The ceremony will include the display and a demonstration of a 3” Field Gun from World War I, which Commander James A. (Buck) Owen diligently restored to its “like new” condition. It is a proud addition complementing the 105 MM Howitzer that saw action in Vietnam and is now on display in front of the Post. Commander Owen, who will also speak, commented “The addition of this World War I weapon is especially meaningful as we just commemorated the 100th anniversary of the “war to end all wars.” All patriotic citizens from Appomattox and the surrounding area are invited to attend to show their support and appreciation for our veterans.
Also following the ceremony on Nov. 11, Thomas Nolen of Nolen Real Estate is sponsoring a cookout of hamburgers and hotdogs for all veterans and their families to express their patriotic appreciation and support for our veterans.
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