CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar - “America owes each of you a debt that, I believe, can never be repaid,” U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Joseph LeBaron told dozens of military and civilian members during Camp As Sayliyah’s Veterans Day ceremony.
LeBaron, who was the guest speaker for the sunset event, was joined by senior Qatari military officials to honor veterans both past and present.
“You have sacrificed something so that all Americans can enjoy the freedom that all of us have today,” he said during the Nov. 11 ceremony.
The day was designed as a federal holiday in 1938 to commemorate the World War I armistice, which took effect at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. On June 1, 1954, the day was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, honoring those who had ever served their country in uniform.
Earlier in the ceremony, Area Support Group Qatar Commander Col. Maxine C. Girard read the official proclamation from President Barack Obama.
“It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops,” Girard read from the proclamation. “Whether Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard, they are our Nation's finest citizens, and they have shown the heights to which Americans can rise when asked and inspired to do so.”
The ambassador echoed the President’s sentiments during his remarks. “He means you here in Qatar,” LeBaron said. “You are at the crossroads of the United States Forces’ mission in Iraq, and parallel mission in Afghanistan.”
Although attended mainly by the base’s military personnel, a number of base civilians and contractors were in attendance. Many of them are veterans themselves; some are even combat veterans who continue to serve the country out of uniform by working with U.S. forces in Qatar.
“Long after leaving the uniform behind, many veterans continue to serve our country as public servants and mentors, parents and community leaders,” Girard read from the Presidential proclamation. “They have added proud chapters to the story of America, not only on the battlefield, but also in communities from coast to coast.”