A Day of Remembrance at State University
By Staff Sgt. Ryan Campbell, 107th Airlift Wing
/ Published November 15, 2016
AMHERST, N.Y. -- The 107th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard, participated in Veterans Day celebrations held by the State University of New York at Buffalo at their campus in Amherst, Nov. 11, 2016.
Col. Robert Kilgore, commander of the 107th AW, was invited to speak to those in attendance. Kilgore was one of the featured veteran speakers that addressed the those who gathered to watched the event.
“I’m honored to be here on this very special day,” said Kilgore. “When we acknowledge the service and sacrifice of those men and women who have served, and are serving, in our nation’s armed forces.”
The day started with a flag raising ceremony at 11:11 A.M., where the American flag was raised, and then lowered to half-staff in a tradition marking the end of World War I. Armistice Day, as Veterans Day was originally known, was a day of remembrance for “the war to end all wars,” which is noted for ending on the 11th minute, of the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
After the end of World War II, a campaign was started to have a day to remember all American veterans, not just those who had served in World War I. Finally, in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
“Regardless of which military branch our veterans have served, this day belongs to all of them,” said Kilgore. “Just as it belongs to the vast generations of patriots who came before.”
The event gave thanks to veterans from all eras, from all service branches. A reminder of what Americans fought against in the past closed the day’s events.
“You don’t have any idea how important it is to veterans that you folks honor us,” said Efner “Lucky” Davis, a former Army combat medic and World War II veteran. “Thank you.”
As a Soldier, Davis saw action in the Philippines during the war and was part of the initial occupying forces of Japan at the end of the war. Still fond of his Army service, he recalls how he ended up as a combat medic.
“I was just a country boy, but I was very good with a rifle,” said Davis. “Since I was the best rifle-shot in the 37th Infantry Division, I became a combat medic.”
Calling his biggest success as simply living through the war, Davis continues to praise those who were not able to do so. Veterans Day becomes a time to remind everyone what the country has fought for for more than 200 years.
“For it is the loyalty to their country and their own great courage, which has made us what we are today,” said Kilgore, “and what we have been for more than two centuries, the land of the free and the home of the brave, a beacon of hope in an oft-troubled world.”