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Ceremony honors local veterans

Ceremony honors local veterans

Retired Lt. Col. Carl Scheidegg speaks with U.S. Army Sgt. Neil S. Keeney, a World War II and Korean War veteran, following the Hanscom Salute to Veterans ceremony at the conference center, Nov. 7. Airmen recognized local veterans from all military branches during the annual Hanscom Salute to Veterans event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jerry Saslav)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – More than 25 currently-serving Airmen recognized local veterans from all military branches during a Hanscom Salute to Veterans ceremony at the conference center here Nov. 7.

Base Civil Engineer Tom Schluckebier, a retired colonel and former Hanscom base commander, served as the guest speaker for this year’s ceremony.

“You proudly represent the few who have taken the oath to defend our great country. We are all compelled to live up to the tradition of honor and the legacy of valor that American veterans have established,” he said to the more than 50 veterans who attended the ceremony.

Schluckebier also took time to thank family members of veterans for their service.

“Our family’s service is marked by the unwavering support to their loved ones who are in harm’s way,” he said. “They may not carry a rifle on their shoulder, but they carry the weight of worry.”

Four Vietnam-era veterans presented Schluckebier with an encased flag flown at the Old North Bridge in nearby Concord, Massachusetts, and a certificate for his role in the ceremony.

As part of the ceremony, Master Sgts. Jessica Labrie and Ryan Francois, Hanscom first sergeants, read aloud nearly 100 names of veterans from all branches of service while Airmen stepped forward to salute their service. Many of the honorees were Hanscom employees.

“This ceremony provides active duty members an opportunity to formally thank those who have come before us,” said Francois. “We owe these men and women a huge debt of gratitude; hopefully this shows that in some way.”

During his closing remarks, the current installation commander thanked the many veterans who attended.

“I am so thankful to carry the torch forward for everything that you have given us as a solid foundation, no matter which war you may have served in or how long you may have served,” said Col. Chad Ellsworth. “You have made our nation safer so thank you for what you have done.”

The ceremony included a reading of “I am the Flag” by retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tim Martin, a civilian employee with the 66th Security Forces Squadron, and closed with “In Flanders Fields” read by former Petty Officer 2nd Class Carol Bergeron.

Following the ceremony, many of the honorees went on a guided historical tour of Boston.

Other Veterans Day events honoring military service will take place around the local area Nov. 11.