United States Navy Memorial Hosts Veterans Day Ceremony


United States Navy Memorial Hosts Veterans Day Ceremony

The United States Navy Memorial hosted a wreath-laying ceremony as part of its Veterans Day celebration in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11.

Rear Adm. Timothy Heely, Program Executive Officer, Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation; addressed the crowd of more than 150 in attendance.

“There’s a saying that you hear [that] no one on their deathbed ever looks back and wishes they would have spent one more day at the office,” said Heely. “But when your office is a cockpit of an airplane flying over the sea streaming at 600 knots, [or] the brow of a ship sailing out there, protecting this [country], [or] when your office is a submarine going beneath the waves and doing things that only submariners know that they do…I suspect that any veteran here, if asked on his deathbed, would raise his right hand and say ‘aye.'”

Douglas Hackett, a retired Navy commander who served from 1961 to 1985, said Veterans Day was a recognition of the bond that veterans and current service members share.

It was the best thing I ever did,” said Hackett. “I served during the Vietnam War and I made a lot of wonderful friends. It’s like President John F. Kennedy [said], if someone asked you what you did with your life, the best thing you can say is [that] you served in the U.S. Navy, and that’s the way I feel about it.”

Daniel D. Segal, a retired Navy lieutenant commander who served from 1942 to 1978, said that he enjoyed his time in the Navy and that his years of sea duty were nothing he could replace.

“For anybody who isn’t sure what their destination is in life,” said Segal, “it’s good to go in the service, find out who you are, what you’re made of, and take it from there.”

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta extended his thanks to troops and veterans this week in his 2011 Veterans Day message.

“This country owes a profound debt to all veterans, and military families,” said Panetta. “In these tough economic times, we’re especially cognizant of our service members transitioning to civilian life, as well as our military spouses. And we must give them the best possible tools to succeed in professional pursuits. For serving our nation with such bravery and distinction, our veterans and current service members deserve our country’s profound gratitude — not just on Veteran’s Day, but every day.”

Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, was first celebrated Nov. 11, 1919, exactly one year after the 1918 armistice between Germany and the Allied nations officially ended World War I.

Source: navy, November 14, 2011