JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Soldiers from 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, took part in Veterans Day ceremonies throughout South Puget Sound during the last week that included a wreath laying, several speaking events and culminated with Soldiers taking part in the City of Auburn’s Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 9.
Leading up to Veterans Day, Lt. Col. Christopher Corizzo, commander of the 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 3-2 SBCT, had a chance to share his view of the holiday during a speech at the 2013 Jubilee Annual Veterans Appreciation ceremony in Lacey, Wash., Nov. 7.
"I don't do my job because I want to be seen as a hero,” Corizzo said. “I do it because it's how I know to maintain freedom for those I love and those who cannot defend themselves. Every day I am proud to serve and I am embarrassed to be recognized for my job. However, Veterans Day is for all to recognize the significance of our military members' sacrifice, and for our military members to accept that gratitude and understand the weight of their own sacrifice."
The following day, family and friends of fallen 3-2 SBCT Soldiers placed a wreath at the brigade's Fallen Heroes Memorial during a ceremony.
The events continued over the weekend as soldiers from 3-2 SBCT displayed M777 Howitzer cannons and Stryker combat vehicles during Auburn's Veterans Day Parade.
The soldiers met people from Auburn and the surrounding communities who might not otherwise have the opportunity to get close to military equipment or speak with Soldiers.
"The parade allows civilians around here to start to get to know a little more about the military,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffery Helmond, a Springfield, Mo., native and combat engineer with 18th Engineer Company.
Helmond reflected on the significance of the day.
"Ten years ago, I didn't know a whole lot about Veterans Day; it was just a day to hang out with my family," Helmond said. "My dad is prior enlisted with the Marine Corps, so he'd celebrate Veterans Day. It was a day to put a flag out in front of the house and remember the fallen troops.”
Now, after deploying four times, Helmond said Veterans Day is a chance to remember friends he served with in combat.
Korean War veteran Murray Board, of Auburn, Wash., who served with Company D, 2nd Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, from 1950-53, said his view of the holiday also changed after he served in the military.
"I was kind of ignoring it in my younger days when I was only 17 or 18 years old,” Board said.
After his service in the military, he says he is proud of Auburn for hosting such a large event to honor veterans.
For Sgt. Ronald Rogers, a Loomis, Calif., native and engineer with 18th Eng. Co. who took part in a vehicle display during the City of Auburn’s Veterans Day Parade, the holiday is a chance for reflection.
"It's about looking around and looking at the guys to my left and to my right, especially the younger Soldiers, and educating them on what Veterans Day really means instead of just a day of barbecuing and hanging out," Rogers said.
Rogers said that he tries to use the day to educate his Soldiers on the sacrifices of the service members that came before them.
With Veterans Day now past, the soldiers of 3-2 SBCT will continue to work closely with communities in South Puget Sound and will work to preserve the legacy of the service members that Veterans Day honors.