DAHLGREN, Va. –
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Armistice Day. The ending of World War I. Now known as Veterans Day, the day honors military veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) Commanding Officer Capt. Stephen “Casey” Plew participated in a virtual collaborative ceremony Nov. 10, hosted by NSWCDD, to honor the nation’s veterans.
“Veterans Day is when we honor those who have served in the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, Space Force and Coast Guard – through peacetime and through war,” said Plew during his opening remarks. “To those here who have served – on behalf of myself and NSWC Dahlgren – do know that we are forever grateful for your service and lifelong dedication to preserving American freedom.”
The event covered the historical significance of Veterans Day and included the origins of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The Tomb is guarded year-round by Soldiers who follow a strict routine to honor the Unknown Soldiers’ sacrifice. It is a place for individual and collective mourning and a place to pay respects to the American military.
President Warren G. Harding established the Tomb to honor unidentified soldiers whose bodies remained in Europe and whose families would not be able to visit their gravesites. This year marks 100 years since the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier opened at Arlington National Cemetery.
“This is not just any Veterans Day,” said Army 1st Lt. Andrew Katz, commander of the guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “We’re currently holding a flower ceremony, where thousands of visitors have the opportunity to enter onto the plaza where guards have walked for nearly the past century.”
While there are a number of holidays that celebrate patriotism, the focus of Veterans Day is on gratitude for living veterans and active duty service members.
The event was a collaboration of 10 different warfare centers throughout the country and coincided with the 246th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.