Wolf Pack recognizes veterans during retreat ceremony
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Approximately 500 Wolf Pack Airmen along with Soldiers of Alpha Battery, 2-1 Air Defense Artillery "Assassins" gathered around the Medal of Honor memorial outside the base theater at Kunsan Air Base, ROK, to honor those who served during a Veterans Day retreat ceremony here Nov. 7.
Col. Ken "Wolf" Ekman, 8th Fighter Wing commander, delivered remarks on the importance of the sacrifices veterans make every day.
"Today, we assemble to honor the men and women who served and continue to serve in our nation's military," said Wolf. "We honor the sacrifices of those who answer the call while wearing the uniform. My gratitude also goes out to the families of these heroes, and I give my thanks for all of their support."
During the First World War, the U.S. Army Air Service dropped 138 tons of bombs and was credited with shooting down 765 enemy aircraft and 76 balloons. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany.
On Nov. 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the day as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words, "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
Armistice Day then became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Congress changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.
"Americans choose to serve their country for many different reasons, but in the end, all veterans have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for our nation," said Master Sgt. Allen Le Vie, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant. "To this end, I ask each of you to set aside time on the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month to reflect and give thanks to all Americans who faithfully served in the military."
The ceremony came to a close with the playing of the American National Anthem and folding of the U.S. flag by the Kunsan Army honor guard, paying final respects to America's fallen brothers and sisters.
"As members of the Wolf Pack, we stand on the shoulders of giants," said Wolf. "May God bless each and every one of you, and may he have mercy on the Wolf Pack's prey."