PORTSMOUTH — Veterans, residents and county officials gathered Thursday to honor veterans with a Veterans Day Ceremony at Tracy Park.
The ceremony began with performances from Portsmouth West High School Band and Choir to honor the Veterans. Marine and Firefighter for Portsmouth, James Howard, gave the ceremonies address.
“This morning, I read something about the importance of keeping faith in each other as Veterans,” said Howard. “Mainly, we need to keep faith in the oath we swore we would do.”
Howard said only 1% of the nation are veterans.
“That means only 1% in our country right now swore an oath to defend it against every opposition,” said Howard. “That means if our voices aren’t going to be raised in defense of every person in America, then we shouldn’t be looking in any other direction or for anyone else’s voices to speak out because if those who swore to defend our country won’t speak out to save it, then no one else will.”
Howard feels it is important to continue to remind generations of the sacrifices, what it is like to serve and what our country is meant to be.
“Only a veteran knows what we see when we close our eyes,” said Howard. “Veteran suicide is perhaps one of the most dangerous pandemics because 22 of us a day are taking our lives and no one is talking about it.”
Howard stressed the importance of checking on the veterans in your life.
“Do the uncomfortable thing of speaking out and asking how they are doing,” said Howard. “It’s not fun, I promise you and it is awkward but we were the champions of awkward situations when we served.”
Howard said there has never been a time where there were more private and public organizations to help veterans.
One veteran who attended the ceremony, Ron Moniger, said Thursday was a day to remember why he served.
“I was in the Air Force for four years as a Bioenvironmental Engineering Craftsman, in 96 I joined the 193 special operations wing which was an international guard unit and did the same thing, I was never deployed even though I was supposed to be, but I would never give up the eight for anything and I kind of regret not staying in as a Weekend Warrior.”
As a Bioenvironmental Engineer, Moniger’s job was to go into all the workplaces and see what people were being exposed to and how to create a solution to keep them safe.
Moniger is now the First Vice Commander for the American Veterans (AMVETS) post in Portsmouth and joined the post in 2013.
AMVETS will be hosting a fundraiser at Wal-Mart from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to raise money for any veteran who needs help.
“Any donations are gladly accepted. If it’s a penny, it’s a penny. If they want to give us a 100 dollar bill, then they give us a 100 dollar bill, just whatever they are willing to give,” said Moniger. “In the past we have used that money to help veterans with giving Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner to a family, getting a transmission, alternator, battery, we have helped pay an electric bill, but that’s what all of our money goes to now, especially since we lost our building due to CoOVID.”
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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