VA Western New York Healthcare System
Veterans Day Salute
The young and the old met on Thursday, November 10 to celebrate Veterans Day with one another at VA Medical Center Buffalo.
Student Volunteers welcomed visitors and handed out greeting cards made by schoolchildren to veterans and their families.
The Army ROTC Cadets from Niagara University also greeted Veterans, thanking them for their service. Veterans talked with them about some of their experiences while Cadets spoke of their plans for military service. Veterans recalled about how it was in the service when they were young, and how they saw themselves in these young men and women.
After Acting Associate Medical Center Director, Royce Calhoun welcomed the group; opening remarks were made by Ms. Lille Jackson, Assistant Director of VA Regional Office. Ms. Jackson reaffirmed VA’s “I Care” policy to emphasize the core values and the resulting high standard of care given to America’s Veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The keynote address was given by Colonel John Higgins, Vice Commander of the 107th Airlift Wing based at Niagara Falls Air Force Reserve Base. He thanked the Veterans for their service and said that our military is better off because these men and women served when they were needed and that many continue to serve their nation and their communities.
In a Patriotic Tribute to the Veterans, Emily Helenbrook, a high school senior from Alexander High School sang Chopin’s “Song of Peace” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.
A handout with the lyrics to the service songs were distributed to the attendees before the event by student volunteers. As each branch of service song was played, Veterans stood during their song, singing in the usual inter-service rivalry.
Colonel Higgins and Ms. Jackson laid the memorial wreath in the center of the room, and then, during a solemn and silent moment, “Taps” were played while Veterans saluted and civilians put their right hand over their hearts.
Ms. Emily Helenbrook wrapped up the program by cheerfully singing “God Bless America” with the attendees. Everyone then gathered for refreshments and comradeship.