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Santa Monica Celebrates Veterans Day

November 11, 2020 2:53 PM
by Lane Dilg

Santa Monica Celebrates Veterans Day

Today, November 11, 2020, we celebrated Veterans Day in a virtual ceremony alongside the Los Angeles Army Recruitment Battalion at our beautiful Veterans Memorial in Palisades Park.  On this day, November 11th, each year, we honor the courage, sacrifice, and love of country of those who have served our country in the Armed Forces. 

Here are remarks from the ceremony and you can view it in its entirety below 

Councilmember Gleam Davis and mother to a West Point graduate and servicemember opened the ceremony: 

Veterans Day is a very special day to remember all those who have sacrificed and served our country, as well as a day to recognize those that are just beginning their commitment and journey to serve and protect our freedoms and the freedoms of generations of Americans to come.

Lieutenant Colonel Garret Kaye, Commander of the Los Angeles Army Recruitment Battalion and a Military Intelligence Officer with multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan then shared: 

Its an honor to be with you here today and I want to begin by recognizing all those among us who have been a part of the great brotherhood and sisterhood of the united states military—our veterans, active-duty service members, guardsmen and reservists. Your service and sacrifice have kept our country safe and free.  

Veterans day occurs on November 11th every year in honor of the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I, known as Armistice Day. It has been a national holiday since 1938 and unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—who served their country honorably during war or in peacetime. 

There are currently 18 million living veterans nation wide who served this great country in uniform at some point in their lives – they make up about 6% of our population.  270,000 of those veterans call Los Angeles County home – and they make up about 3% of LA County’s populationAnd that’s why days like these are so important – to make sure we recognize that often “taken for granted” minority of Americans who served our country in the armed forces. Today we celebrate all of them. Their servicetheir sacrificeand for the last few generations of servicemen and womenwe celebrate their decision to be a part of something bigger than themselves – a decision that fundamentally changes the trajectory of their lives – and a decision we were only given in 1973 when the draft was eliminated and the army became an all-volunteer force. 

That selfless decision to serve is made by less than 1% of our population these men and women are truly America’s best and have had the honor of serving alongside many of them during my 18 years in the Army. I’ve served with them in the Iraqi desert, in the mountains of Afghanistan, while jumping out of perfectly good airplanes in Italy, while certifying our capabilities at our world class Army training centers, while training in Europe, while building partnerships in the pacific, and while being educated at our distinguished schoolhouses and centers of excellence across this great nation. That’s my Army story – it’s a story of pride in my chosen profession, a story of humble gratitude for those I’ve served with, the talent and courage they bring, the sacrifices they and their families made and continue to make. And its a story of eternal thanks to all those who served before me – my generation of servicemen and women truly stand on the shoulders of giants.  

But the first chapter of my story took place right here. I was born and raised in Los Angeles – down the road from here in Thousand Oaks. And now have the distinct privilege of commanding the organization that ensures our lineage of distinguished veterans from the greater Los Angeles area remains strong and plentiful. A duty and responsibility I undertake with complete conviction and sense of purpose because I firmly believe in the ideals of this nation, the constitution built to see it through, and the essential requirement of recruiting America and LA’s best to defend it. 

As I tell every future soldier when they decide to join our ranks – you are about to embark on an incredible journey that will yield you a lifetime of experience, skills, benefits, and pride. You are part of the elite 1% of our nation who qualified and made the choice to defend our constitution as part of America’s greatest and most storied team – the United States Army! 

That lifetime of experience, skills, benefits, and pride enable us and often propel us into the military after-life when we take off our uniform. Our City’s incredible veterans work in every sector of Los Angeles. From politics, to public administration, public safety, business, education, and healthcare. They forever remain honorable servants of our nation and soldiers for life. And today we thank them, celebrate them, and honor them.  

They have selflessly secured America’s promise… but that security isn’t guaranteed. It demands effort, courage, sacrifice, and at times the ultimate sacrifice  so today we also keep in our thoughts and prayers the fallen, the missing, those who are right now serving in harm’s way, and the families that support them as they do their part to secure America’s promise. 

We also remember that honoring those who’ve served isn’t just about what we say here today. It’s about how we honor our veterans every day of the year. It’s remaining committed to supporting them and their families in every way that we possibly can. It’s about serving them with the same commitment and fervor that they serve our nation with. It’s the right thing to do by them and their families, and it continues to assure our nation that our best and brightest young men and women will continue to fill our ranks in defense of this great nation. 

 

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