By Debbie Adams
Cadets from the William Byrd High School Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) program participated in the Veterans Day ceremony at Brandon Oaks on November 11 to honor the service and sacrifices of veterans who are now residents there.
The cadets provided the Color Guard, sang the national anthem, and conducted a Flag Folding Ceremony.
Brandon Oaks Arts and Education Director Tresa Walko thanked “all those among us who, despite the risk and sacrifice, raised their hand to serve and defend this beautiful country—our veterans, active-duty service members, guardsmen, and reservists. Your service has helped keep our country and its citizens safe and free.”
She asked for a moment of silence “to remember and honor the fallen, prisoners of war, those missing in action and those who have served and are serving this great nation’s armed services today and to acknowledge those families of service members and veterans who help shoulder the weight of war and the burdens of sacrifice. To the mothers, fathers, spouses and children of our military men and women—thank you. Your love, support and resilience are the backbone of this nation, and that must never be forgotten.”
She introduced the cadets and their instructor, Senior Chief David Perrin USN (retired). Cadets participating in the program included Katelin Patrick (William Byrd High School), Noah Nicely (Hidden Valley), William Sloane (Northside), Trevor Robinson (WBHS), Zackary Charles (WBHS), Mason Perdue (Northside), Alexis Cook (Cave Spring), Cole Binner (Cave Spring), and Faith Carter. While the NNDCC program is based at William Byrd, students at all Roanoke County high schools are eligible for the program.
Cadets Patrick and Cook led the residents in singing the national anthem, followed by the posting of the colors by the Color Guard William Sloane, Zackary Charles, Trevor Robinson, and Mason Perdue. Cadet Chaplain Noah Nicely delivered the invocation.
Cadet Lt. Commander Katelin Patrick, the Unit Commander, opened the ceremony by saying, “When Francis Scott Key wrote the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ almost 200 years ago, he called America, ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave.’ Those words are as true today as they were then. Throughout this nation’s history, America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen have bravely answered the call to defend our freedom, to aid our friends and allies, and to turn back aggressors. We can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to the more than 650,000 American service members who died in battle or the 1.4 million who were wounded. We can, however, recognize and thank the 25 million veterans still living today.
“On behalf of all the cadets, it is our privilege to say, ‘thank you’ and to let you know that we appreciate you for your service and honor you for your sacrifices. The price of freedom is high. We cannot afford to forget those willing to pay it.”
Patrick explained the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. While Veterans Day honors all veterans, “Memorial Day, held in May, is a time to reflect on and honor veterans killed in defense of our great nation.
“Veterans Day was initially Armistice Day, named in recognition of the 1918 armistice that unofficially ended WWI. On June 1, 1954, Congress officially renamed it Veterans Day to include those who served after WWI.”
Cadet Charles further explained the history of Veterans Day, which is always held on November 11, regardless of the day of the week it falls on. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the armistice with Germany went into effect.”
The Flag Folding Ceremony followed, led by Cadet Binner, who explained that the portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing the states of veterans, of all generations, who served in uniform.” He narrated as Cadets Nicely (folder) and Carter (holder) folded the flag.
- The First Fold – In honor of the 13 original colonies and the forefathers who founded this great nation. (Each fold is followed by “We salute you.”)
- The Second Fold – To the men who died in the War for Independence.
- The Third Fold – To those men who fell in the War of 1812, to preserve our freedom.
- The Fourth Fold – To the brave soldiers on both sides, the North and the South, in the Civil War.
- The Fifth Fold – To those who shed their blood in the name of hope and freedom in the Great War.
- The Sixth Fold – For those who have gone before and died in the terrible battles of World War II – Pearl Harbor, Anzio, Midway, The Bulge, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Normandy, and Berlin.
- The Seventh Fold – To the men of the First Marine Division, who, in a rear-guard action at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, saved their battalion and the lives of their brother Marines.
- The Eighth Fold – For the brave men and women of the armed forces who died on the fields of fire in Vietnam and whose names will live on forever on that hallowed wall.
- The Ninth Fold – For those who lost their lives and suffered by the horrific and unspeakable terrorist acts of September 11, and those who continue to pay the ultimate sacrifice in action during Post 9-11 operations.
- The Tenth Fold – For emergency response personnel and on site first responders; police, fire fighters, paramedics, doctors, and nurses.
- The Eleventh Fold – To God, parents, and families who we love and respect.
- The Twelfth Fold – To the men and women of the Armed Forces, the Arsenal of Democracy, and the Hammer of Freedom.
- The Thirteenth Fold – Lastly to freedom, because without freedom there is no honor. Without honor, we are not Americans, and on this we vow, that as long as this Flag flies…we salute you.
“When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’” Binner said. “It takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were faithfully followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States…preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.”
The flag is folded in a triangle fold with the red and white stripes folded into the blue like the light of day vanishing into the darkness of night.
The guest speaker for the Veterans Day Ceremony was United States Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom Miller, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering, and Force Protection, based at the Pentagon.
He was commissioned as a distinguished graduate from the AFROTC program and has served in a variety of leadership positions in the United States and Iraq, a maintenance group in Afghanistan, a nuclear wing, an air logistics complex, and has served on the Air Staff and Joint Staff. Prior to his current position, he was the Commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, Air Force Material Command, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
In his remarks he told the residents and the cadets, “We live in a turbulent and dangerous world,” and “we need brave and patriotic men and women to serve.” He urged the veterans to encourage their children and grandchildren to serve in the military, “to raise their right hands. We need American youth to defend us.”
He commended the Navy cadets for “wanting to do something bigger than themselves.”