By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins, Navy Public Affairs West, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) – More than 3,000 civilians, active duty and retired service members from around the Pacific Northwest attended the 11th annual Bremerton Veterans Day ceremony at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, Nov. 11.
Commander, Navy Region Northwest, Rear Adm. Jeff Ruth co-hosted the annual Kitsap County Veterans Day ceremony.
“It truly is an honor to be here for this event and on behalf of the nearly 45,000 members of the Navy serving in the Puget Sound area I say ‘thank you,’” said Ruth. “As we sit here today, those Sailors and their colleagues from the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines are on the job, both here in Kitsap County and remote locations around the world. You should be proud of the work they are doing; their dedication is envious; their determination is unmatched.”
More than 40 organizations from around Kitsap County contributed to the ceremony including the Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council Navy League, Knights of Columbus, Naval Sea Cadet Corps (Kitsap Battalion), and the Bremerton High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.
The ceremony was open to the public and featured static displays along the walls of the Kitsap Sun Pavilion as well as booths from veterans support organizations.
Retired Army 1st Sergeant Dough Pfeffer was the main speaker for the event, and shared his feelings about what needs to be done for veterans now and into the future.
“A veteran isn’t just someone who gave up the big things for the greater good,” said Pfeffer. “We all gave up countless little things, such as being able to attend our children’s little league games. We are the next great generation after our grandfathers of World War II. Those currently serving know they will one day be back home and out of the military, and they will be coming back in droves. We need to welcome them back from combat as the heroes they truly are and give just as much back that they willingly gave up for us.”
The Bremerton Marching Band participated in the ceremony with an Armed Forces Medley of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine service songs as well as the Navy hymn, “Eternal Father”.
The Marine Corps Security Force Battalion rifle squad stationed on Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor performed a 21-gun salute at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Originally called Armistice Day, this day began when an armistice was signed between the Allied Nations and Germany ending World War I Nov. 11, 1918. Armistice Day became an official holiday in May of 1938 in honor of those who served during that war. It was changed in 1954 to Veterans Day to commemorate all American veterans from every branch of service.