Veterans and service members celebrated Armed Forces Day at Battleship Park this morning. The National Guard band played the hymn of each branch. A reenactment of the flag raising at Iwo Jima and a wreath drop took place on the USS Alabama. The ceremony was enjoyed by veterans and provided a chance for them to get together.
“Particularly for those of us that were in Vietnam, we refer to each other as brothers,” Col. Patrick Downing, Battleship Park Chairman. “As you may know, when we came back to the homeland, we did not receive the respect nor support from many of our citizens. So we lean on each other and we still continue to lean on each other.”
But for the rest of the public, it served as a reminder of next week.
“I know Memorial Day is a very important day for families,” said Col. Downing. “You know, they can do a barbeque. They can go to the beach. But I would ask all people, whoever is hearing my voice, whatever you do on Memorial Day, take a minute to think about the many service men and women who have died in the service of our country.”
News Five’s own Bill Riales emceed the ceremony put on by the Blue Star Salute Foundation. Among the many things at the park was the Wall that Heals which spent the past week in Mobile.