Honoring Those Who Served
A veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, United States Army Col. Robert C. Campbell told those gathered outside the Fulton County Courthouse Monday morning he continues to serve his country today but stands on the shoulders of those who went before him.
As guest speaker during the annual Fulton County Veterans Day ceremony hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 655 and American Legion Post 561 of Mc- Connellsburg, Col. Campbell took a quick poll of the crowd to assess the veterans on hand. In addition to World War II veterans, individuals were also recognized for serv- ing in Korea, Vietnam as well as Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I consider all of you my brothers, fathers, sisters and comrades. Thanks for your service to our nation. We share a sacred bond. That of service, sacrifice, duty and honor,” said Campbell, who currently attends the Army War College in Carlisle. “We answered the call for freedom and democracy, stood up against oppression and terrorism in foreign lands.”
Making reference to the families of service men and women, Campbell noted Veterans Day is also about celebrating their sacrifices. “There is not a soldier, sailor, airmen or marine that could fight without the loving support of a family back home,” he said. “I have always believed the tougher job may have been back at home, wondering about your loved one, watching the gore on television and living in the unknown. That is a feeling that most of us cannot comprehend, but it must be wrenching.”
Campbell went on to sum up his feelings about Veterans Day in a solitary word: pride. He noted that in the course of his day, he has been stopped numerous times while wearing his uniform. His meals have been paid for, his hand has been shaken and he has been thanked for his service.
According to Campbell, “I never knew how much that truly meant until it happened to me after I returned from Iraq several years ago. It is a feeling that I just cannot describe but one that touches my soul and makes me swell with pride. Today, just hearing the word veteran fills me with pride.”
“Wars are almost impossible to predict but in today’s world they are an unfortunate reality. As long as there are wars and people and countries that want to threaten our way of life and the idea of freedom, there will be a requirement for men and women to pick up a weapon and answer the nation’s call. Freedom is not just an American thing. It’s universal. It transcends cultures. Ask any vet,” Campbell stated.
He closed out his speech sharing a poem entitled, “Bury Me With Soldiers.” Following Campbell’s moving sentiments, VFW Post Cmdr. George Cutchall and American Legion Post Cmdr. Bob Huffman oversaw the placement of the wreath. The wreath was donated by by the Decker family in honor and memory of Col. Chester Davis, USMC, Ret., and Charles C.A. Davis, USMC.
Musical accompaniment during the Veterans Day ceremony was provided by the Forbes Road and McConnellsburg High School bands. The bands are led by directors Ryan Wade and Greg Strine. “Taps” was performed by Forbes Road trumpet player Dustin Stoey.
In addition, the Fulton Honor Guard led by Capt. Mike DeShong performed the salute to the honored day and retired the colors.