Bamberg ceremonies honor vets’ sacrifices
BAMBERG, Germany — Hundreds of soldiers, family members and veterans came together Monday to remember the service and sacrifice of American fighting men and women.
As a parade led by Bamberg American High School’s 15th Junior ROTC Battalion and followed by more than 60 Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from more than 11 local troops wound through post, the military community gathered at Warner Barracks’ Memorial Park.
In a short ceremony at 11:11 a.m., members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars led the community in the laying of flowers and a wreath.
While Veterans Day observances normally are held on the 11th, the community elected to gather on the 12th due to conflicting religious services.
“And I’m glad we did it today, since yesterday at 11:11 it was pouring down rain,” VFW commander Tom Stenson said.
“It’s been said that without the American soldier there would not be a United States of America,” said Col. Martin B. Pitts, commander of Bamberg’s 16th Sustainment Brigade, the ceremony’s guest speaker.
Honoring the 52 million veterans who have served since colonial times, Pitts said that although the number of Americans is the largest it’s ever been, the 2.2 million men and women in uniform make up less than one percent of the population, a percentage far lower than previous generations.
“Our world would be a very different place if it wasn’t for the American soldier. ... It’s that seven-tenths of one percent that should matter the most to this country,” Pitts said.
Gulf War veteran and VFW member Dave Robinson, who acted as the ceremony’s chaplain, said he tries to honor veterans “to never let the American people who have never served forget that there are those who have and are serving to give them the freedoms and benefits of American life as they know it.”
One of the 50 JROTC members who participated was 17-year-old high school senior Patricia Payton.
“There are a lot of teenagers who don’t care about veterans,” Payton said. “ROTC helps show that there are some teenagers who do.”
Shortly after the activities concluded on Warner, several members of VFW Post 10592 went to a cemetery in downtown Bamberg to place or replace flags at the gravesites of Americans who elected to live and be buried in Germany after their time in service was done.