Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Honored with New Celebration by Durham Council

Morning sun hits the 2015 Veterans Day wreath placed
 at the VA Medical Center's Blue Star Memorial marker.
The Council sponsored and installed the marker in 2014.
Veterans Day began in 1918 when the armistice between Germany and the Alllied Nations went into effect at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. “Armistice Day,” celebrating this laying down of arms and world peace, was subsequently set for November 11, and made a US legal holiday in 1938. In 1954, the holiday was amended as “Veterans Day” and is often honored with city parades and two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. with tribute to all war veterans, both living and deceased.  A wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery is held annually.  

In Durham, 2015 saw a new Veterans Day tradition of laying of wreaths at the Blue Star Memorial marker in front of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, hosted by the Durham Council of Garden Clubs.  Over 40 attended the new celebration on Wednesday, including 18 veteran patients and 10 hospital staff and administrators. The ceremony began with an invocation by Rev. Dr. John P Oliver, Chief of Chaplain Service and was followed a flag presentation and laying wreaths led by Heritage Garden Club member Martha Sanderford. Wreaths were sponsored by the General Davie DAR chapter and the Durham Council of Garden Clubs. Chaplain Margaret March, CPE Supervisory Education Resident, then read “In Flanders Fields.”
In April 2014, the Durham Council of Garden Clubs unveiled the new Blue Star Memorial marker that its 10 garden clubs had purchased and installed with specially designed flower bed in front of the Durham VA Medical Center. In April 2015, the Council won the highest award, a “Certificate of Appreciation,” from The National Garden Club for the purchase and installation this marker. The NGC award came with a plaque, and at Wednesday’s Veterans Day ceremony, Pat Cashwell, Chair for the Garden Club of North Carolina, presented this plaque to VA Medical Center Associate Director Steve Black to hang in the facility.

The history of Veterans Day was then presented by Durham Council First Vice-President Marcia Loudon who said the day is “a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” The ceremony then concluded with a benediction read by Chaplain Margaret March.
Images from the 2015 Veterans Day celebration sponsored by the Durham Council of Garden Clubs.

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