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Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

From left to right, DAV members Afghanistan veteran Jess Karcher and Vietnam veterans Gregory Chiapponi, Jim Zane and Mike Varga at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016.

From left to right, DAV members Afghanistan veteran Jess Karcher and Vietnam veterans Gregory Chiapponi, Jim Zane and Mike Varga at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

From left to right, DAV members Afghanistan veteran Jess Karcher and Vietnam veterans Gregory Chiapponi, Jim Zane and Mike Varga at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016.

From left to right, DAV members Afghanistan veteran Jess Karcher and Vietnam veterans Gregory Chiapponi, Jim Zane and Mike Varga at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

John Liszewski, dressed as a WWII tank commander, waits for the start of the World War II Memorial Veterans Day service on Nov. 11, 2016.

John Liszewski, dressed as a WWII tank commander, waits for the start of the World War II Memorial Veterans Day service on Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

People gather for the start of a ceremony on Veterans Day at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 11, 2016.

People gather for the start of a ceremony on Veterans Day at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A member from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy pauses to read a description at the World War II Memorial on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

A member from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy pauses to read a description at the World War II Memorial on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Vietnam Women's Memorial on Nov. 11, 2016.

The Vietnam Women's Memorial on Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

John Black and Loretta Aiken at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016.

John Black and Loretta Aiken at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall, Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall, Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall on Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall on Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall on Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall on Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall, Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall, Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall on Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the Vietnam Wall on Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day near the Vietnam Wall, Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day near the Vietnam Wall, Nov. 11, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A Native American veteran gives the Lone Sailor bunny ears while waiting for a group shot during the first Native American Honor Flight in Washington, D.C. at the US Navy Memorial.

A Native American veteran gives the Lone Sailor bunny ears while waiting for a group shot during the first Native American Honor Flight in Washington, D.C. at the US Navy Memorial. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The first Native American Honor Flight flew in from Nevada and spent Veterans Day in Washington, D.C. Here they post at the US Navy Memorial.

The first Native American Honor Flight flew in from Nevada and spent Veterans Day in Washington, D.C. Here they post at the US Navy Memorial. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Native Americans from Nevada visit the US Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day as part of the first Native American Honor Flight.

Native Americans from Nevada visit the US Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day as part of the first Native American Honor Flight. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

John Smith at the US Navy Memorial on Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

John Smith at the US Navy Memorial on Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Bob Tilton poses at the US Navy Memorial with the wreath and the banner he created on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C. Tilton was part of the first Native American Honor Flight and they were placing the wreath later in the afternoon during a ceremony at the Vietnam Wall.

Bob Tilton poses at the US Navy Memorial with the wreath and the banner he created on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C. Tilton was part of the first Native American Honor Flight and they were placing the wreath later in the afternoon during a ceremony at the Vietnam Wall. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Native American veterans Steven Frank, left, and Stanley Hooper, at the US Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11, 2016, Veterans Day. They were part of the first Native American Honor Flight.

Native American veterans Steven Frank, left, and Stanley Hooper, at the US Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11, 2016, Veterans Day. They were part of the first Native American Honor Flight. ()

Virginia firefighter Steve Soloduk, top left, poses with his father Warren and his grandfather Fred on Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Fred Soloduk, 91-years-old, served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Carter in the Atlantic Theater. Warren Soloduk is retired Coast Guard.

Virginia firefighter Steve Soloduk, top left, poses with his father Warren and his grandfather Fred on Veterans Day 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Fred Soloduk, 91-years-old, served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Carter in the Atlantic Theater. Warren Soloduk is retired Coast Guard. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Gary McCloud, right, a retired Marine corporal, relaxes at the U.S. Navy Memorial on Veterans Day in Washington. In the background is Ed Dick. Both men were part of the first all Native American Honor Flight out of Nevada on Nov. 10.

Gary McCloud, right, a retired Marine corporal, relaxes at the U.S. Navy Memorial on Veterans Day in Washington. In the background is Ed Dick. Both men were part of the first all Native American Honor Flight out of Nevada on Nov. 10. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A bugler plays taps at a Veterans Day ceremony  at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

A bugler plays taps at a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Young visitors watch a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Young visitors watch a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Harry Miller, left, talks with other World War II veterans during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Harry Miller, left, talks with other World War II veterans during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A bagpiper plays during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

A bagpiper plays during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

World War II veteran Robert Reid helps place a wreath during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

World War II veteran Robert Reid helps place a wreath during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

World War II veterans await the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

World War II veterans await the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Friedrich St. Florian, center, the designer of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., at a Veterans Day ceremony, Nov. 11, 2016.

Friedrich St. Florian, center, the designer of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., at a Veterans Day ceremony, Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Leonard Monroe of the Chickasaw Nation Veterans awaits the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Leonard Monroe of the Chickasaw Nation Veterans awaits the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

World War II veteran Leo Rhenn, who served in the Army Air Corps, poses with family members before a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

World War II veteran Leo Rhenn, who served in the Army Air Corps, poses with family members before a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The United States Army Band quintet plays during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

The United States Army Band quintet plays during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

World War II veteran Jim Riffe, before a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

World War II veteran Jim Riffe, before a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

World War II veteran and author Allan Wilford Howerton, the keynote speaker, awaits the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

World War II veteran and author Allan Wilford Howerton, the keynote speaker, awaits the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

World War II veterans William A. Tippins and Herman Zeitchik, after placing a wreath at a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

World War II veterans William A. Tippins and Herman Zeitchik, after placing a wreath at a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A bagpiper plays during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

A bagpiper plays during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Lincoln Memorial, as seen during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

The Lincoln Memorial, as seen during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

World War II veteran Paul Hoskins accepts a flag during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

World War II veteran Paul Hoskins accepts a flag during a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

World War II veteran Garnet W. Hammond awaits the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

World War II veteran Garnet W. Hammond awaits the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

Veterans Day at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Armed Forces Color Guard awaits the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016.

The Armed Forces Color Guard awaits the start of a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Marine Corps veteran Ed Hook of Baltimore makes a rubbing of the name of Jerry Rice -- "a neighborhood guy I used to play ball with" -- during a Veterans Day visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. Hook said he saves the rubbings as a memorial to his friend.

Marine Corps veteran Ed Hook of Baltimore makes a rubbing of the name of Jerry Rice -- "a neighborhood guy I used to play ball with" -- during a Veterans Day visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2016. Hook said he saves the rubbings as a memorial to his friend. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

World War II veterans former Sen. Bob Dole and Garnet W. Hammond wave to visitors after they took part in a Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington Friday morning. Dole, the former Senate majority leader, still greets Honor Flight participants at the memorial on Saturday mornings. Hammond, a resident of Temple Hills, Md., was employed by the U.S. Postal Museum for 35 years.

World War II veterans former Sen. Bob Dole and Garnet W. Hammond wave to visitors after they took part in a Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington Friday morning. Dole, the former Senate majority leader, still greets Honor Flight participants at the memorial on Saturday mornings. Hammond, a resident of Temple Hills, Md., was employed by the U.S. Postal Museum for 35 years. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Bob Burton of Washington, D.C. stands at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2016.

Bob Burton of Washington, D.C. stands at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2016. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Marine Corps veteran Ed Hook of Baltimore pauses in front of the name of Jerry Rice -- "a neighborhood guy I used to play ball with" -- during a Veterans Day visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Friday morning. In the background, National Park Service volunteer Tom Tabor, who served with the Army in Vietnam from late 1968 to 1970, makes a rubbing of a name way up on the wall for a visitor. Tabor said visitors seeking such a memento from a high point on the Wall should just ask a volunteer.

Marine Corps veteran Ed Hook of Baltimore pauses in front of the name of Jerry Rice -- "a neighborhood guy I used to play ball with" -- during a Veterans Day visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Friday morning. In the background, National Park Service volunteer Tom Tabor, who served with the Army in Vietnam from late 1968 to 1970, makes a rubbing of a name way up on the wall for a visitor. Tabor said visitors seeking such a memento from a high point on the Wall should just ask a volunteer. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — Ceremonies on the National Mall on Friday marked Veterans Day, which NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden said has become "one of the more important days in the life of our democracy."

Speaking at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Bolden called Veterans Day "a day when men and women from all walks of life line up in schoolhouses and libraries and senior centers, and participate in local parades to celebrate the sacrifices of those who have chose to serve our nation."

Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions over Southeast Asia in 1972 and 1973, and retired as a major general after 34 years in the Marine Corps. He then flew four missions on the space shuttle.

Addressing a gathering of veterans, many of whom came to honor friends whose names are inscribed on the Wall, Bolden said the fallen "represent the best of our nation who left their homes and towns large and small to take up arms, so we might live in freedom.

"They gave their lives so that all of us could live in this freedom. They gave their lives not just for the present, but for the future. For their own children and grandchildren and millions of faces they would never see. Millions of souls that they would never meet. For future generations, who would share with them the most sacred and important title anyone could have the privilege to hold ... the title of American."

At the National World War II Memorial, a ceremony honored members of the "Greatest Generation" including 93-year-old former Sen. Bob Dole, who still spends Saturdays at the memorial welcoming Honor Flight participants.

"We’re all in this together," Dole told an audience that included veterans of World War II and subsequent conflicts. "It doesn’t make any difference if you were in combat or not, Vietnam or World War II."

The keynote speaker, World War II veteran and author Allan Wilford Howerton, called the 12-year-old memorial "a magnet for World War II veterans all across the country to come here in our last years and to unlock the vaults of our memories."

news@stripes.com


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