HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Officials honored more than 80 local veterans during a Salute to Veterans ceremony at the base conference center here Nov. 10.
The ceremony recognized the service and sacrifice of veterans, many of whom continue their service as civilian employees on base.
“We remember that it’s not the powerful weapons that make our military the greatest in the world,” said Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander and guest speaker for the event. “The true strength of our military and our nation is embodied in the spirit and skill of each of you – those who have served and those who are currently serving.”
The annual ceremony included veterans from the Korean War to present.
“I was called by my country and I felt it my responsibility to serve,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Alan Hein, a 93-year old veteran who was drafted in 1952. “Military service is an essential occupation, and it was an opportunity for me to serve my country.”
During the hour-long ceremony, Chief Master Sgts. Justin Geers, 66th Security Forces Squadron manager, and Holly Burke, 66th Medical Squadron superintendent, read aloud more than 100 names of veterans as active duty Airmen stepped forward to salute each veteran.
Among those rendering their respect was Tech. Sgt. Justine Wilson, 66th Air Base Group Commander’s Action Group NCO in charge, who participated along with her father, Dennis Bardelcik, an Air Force veteran.
“I joined the Air Force to follow in his footsteps, to continue the legacy of service of my father and uncle who followed their father, my grandfather,” she said.
The ceremony opened with 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 U.S. Army Sgt. Robin Houck, now serving as the Hanscom Service Desk Manager.
To the attendees, retired Chief Master Sgt. Bobby Jacques, the event organizer and a Vietnam veteran, said, “Thank you for what you gave to ensure we are a free nation.”
Following the ceremony, Jacques led many of the honorees on a guided historical tour of Boston.
Other Veterans Day events honoring military service will take place around the local area Nov. 11.