Community observes Veterans Day

Shawn Hardy
The Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Memorial was rededicated on its 10th anniversary as part of Sunday's Veterans Day ceremony. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT.

The Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Memorial was rededicated on its 10th anniversary as local residents gathered on North Washington Street outside borough hall to observe Veterans Day on Sunday.

Bells tolled as the ceremony began on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 100 years after the signing of the armistice ending World War I. The observance of Armistice Day started a year later on Nov. 11, 1919, Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance and Nov. 11 became a national U.S. holiday beginning in 1938, according to history.com.

Sunday's observance was sponsored by Frank L. Carbaugh American Legion Post 373 and Harry D. Zeigler VFW Post 6319.

Greencastle Borough Councilman Frank Webster gave the opening prayer, expressing gratitude for veterans who have served both in times of peace and times of war. He asked for special blessing on those "tempered by their service" with injuries and other challenges like post-traumatic stress disorder.

"May we never forget what our country has asked of them and what was given in return," Webster said.

Mayor Ben Thomas Jr., who co-chaired the committee that spearheaded the memorial, reflected on what the town was like more than a century ago, and the heartache of mothers who put their sons on buses to head off to war. He then talked about the celebrations in community 100 years ago on the day the War to End All Wars was over.

He encouraged all veterans to share their stories because "history is so important."

Thomas talked about veterans in his family and others he has known, including Chester "Chet" Williams, a World War II Army veteran who attended the ceremony, with his son, Larry Williams, an Army veteran of Vietnam. Thomas also mentioned a conversation with Reed Burke, who talked about the challenges for a man of color serving in Europe during World War II .

On behalf of the Borough of Greencastle, Thomas accepted the rededication of the memorial as a tribute to the brave men and women who served and continue to serve.

One of those who continues to serve is speaker Dylan Everetts, a 2002 graduate of Shippensburg Area Senior High School, whose father and grandparents live in Greencastle.

Everetts is a tech sergeant with the U.S. Air Force Reserves with the 512th Airlift Wing, 512th Force Support Squadron based at Dover Air Force Base.

As a base education training technician, he helps veterans who want to go back to school with everything from information on the GI Bill to the Community College of the Air Force.

He said there are hundreds of jobs in the military, something for everyone, but "we're all doing the same job, fighting the good fight."

Talking about sacrifice, he remembered those who "went to work and didn't come home."

"We are the greatest country in the history of the world ... founded on a set of beliefs," Everetts said. People have sacrificed life and limb for those beliefs, which give people the right to disagree with one another.

People do disagree with one another, but "at the end of the day, we are all Americans," Everetts said, concluding his speech by thanking veterans.