JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division and Puyallup, Wash., teamed up to host a Veterans Day ceremony at the Pioneer Park Pavilion in the heart of downtown Puyallup, Nov. 11.
The Lancer brigade is partnered with Puyallup as part of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., community connector program, which pairs JBLM units and communities surrounding the base together to help residents of the south sound connect with and better understand the lives of soldiers and families.
“The city of Puyallup is the community connector for the Lancer Brigade, but it’s not just an assigned city. We have personnel who actually live in this community. Their families are here. Their families work here, their kids go to school here, so it’s an important relationship, not just from a community relations stand point, but from a quality of life standpoint,” said Capt. Daniel Clark, the 2-2 SBCT community relations officer. “It’s a big deal for our soldiers to receive the support that they do.”
Clark had the honor of being the guest speaker at the ceremony and presented an American flag to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2224 in Puyallup on behalf of the Lancers.
“Last year while the Lancer Brigade was deployed in Afghanistan, they flew a flag over Camp Nathan Smith, which is where they were based, in honor of the VFW Post 2224 as a way of saying thank you for all the support the VFW post had provided to the brigade, as well as the city of Puyallup,” said Clark of the flag presentation.
Puyallup community leaders and hundreds of residents piled into the pavilion to show their support for the American veteran, with many standing for the ceremony.
The mayor of Puyallup, Rick Hansen, began the ceremony with a few opening remarks, reminding people that on Veterans Day, “We need to spend time praying for those who serve.”
He also described some of the memorable events he’s taken part in with soldiers and military leaders at the base, along with the somber moments he had at various memorial ceremonies for fallen soldiers.
Clark summed up the day’s events and the importance of Veterans Day when he said to the hundreds of people in attendance, “A nation who forgets its defenders will soon be forgotten.”
Veterans from across all services and conflicts were present at the day’s events, and despite the generation gaps between the veterans of current wars and those of conflicts past, the bonds of brotherhood were apparent.
“Those who experience the horrors of war really develop a bond or brotherhood, and it doesn’t matter which conflict you fought in. You appreciate that brotherhood across all conflict. It doesn’t matter what generation you’re from. If you [are a] veteran, you understand what it means to be a veteran, and you understand what those who have come before and [will come] after you have experienced,” said Clark.