by Liz Tenney Jarvis,
November 13, 2015
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Veterans are remembered and saluted for their service to their country. What began in 1919 as a memorial to the Armistice marking the end of World War I, Veterans Day is now a special tribute to all members of the military, past and present. In Lovettsville, the day was marked by heartfelt speeches, children singing, patriotic remembrances and the acknowledgement that every day should be Veterans Day.
The love, honor and respect in the crowd of close to 300 was palpable. Warm embraces, pats on the shoulders and handshakes were emblematic of the deep emotions present. This is the third year since the official dedication of the Lovettsville Veterans Memorial. Former Lovettsville Mayor Elaine Walker said, “We need to continue recognizing the Veterans of all wars. I think I heard last night that the WWII Veterans are passing away at a number of about 500-plus a day, and that would be probably the oldest group of war veterans that we are honoring at this time. We just have to always remember that we have our freedom because of our heroes, and they are indeed our heroes.”
Current Lovettsville Mayor Robert Zoldos II opened the ceremony with a formal welcome before the presentation of the colors by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard. The Lovettsville area Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem was then sung by over 70 Lovettsville Elementary School Fifth Graders.
Pastor Lee Crosby of Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church led the invocation before the Keynote Speaker, Adrian Veseth-Nelson, Capt. (Ret.) US Army came forward to tell the crowd what being a Veteran is all about. His speech was a very real depiction of what war is like and what it is to return to civilian life after having experienced the brutality of war. Capt. Veseth-Nelson pointed out that we are still at war, and that this is often lost in the media as stories of Kardashians or other celebrity exploits overshadow the fact that men and women are still fighting overseas. His speech was informative, emotional and gripping, and there was a standing ovation at its conclusion.
Twenty-two pavers within the memorial were dedicated Wednesday, many sponsored by family and friends. One paver in particular was named for a long-lost Veteran, only recently researched and recognized by the members of the New Jerusalem Lutheran Church. The story of the long-forgotten Service Flag and its one Gold Star (in place to memorialize one soldier who had made the ultimate sacrifice) was retold by Mike Zapf.
Veterans from all branches of the U.S. military rose as the service hymns of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Marine Corps sounded out. The tremendous amount of patriotism and sacrifice was evident as the individuals stood with each hymn played.
After “God Bless America” was sung, Mayor Zoldos ended the program by saying, “It was a wonderful day.”