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NEWS | Nov. 7, 2023

Army Reserve helps honor veterans in Boston

By Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris 99th Readiness Division

The U.S. Army Reserve took part in the Boston Veterans Day Parade Nov. 4, marching from Copley Square to City Hall Plaza.

“On Veterans Day, we honor the brave men and women from all walks of life who have stepped forward to defend our nation throughout our history,” said Col. John Wildermann, congressional legislative liaison for the Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division. “Regardless of the military branch in which our veterans have served – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or Space Force – this day belongs to them.”

Joining Wildermann for the 1.3-mile march were General Gary M. Brito, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Boston Commissioner of Veterans Services Robert Santiago, and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

“Today, we march with reverence and gratitude for all those who have served,” Wu said. “We also march with determination to uphold our collective commitment to ensure that we continue to serve those who sacrificed so much, and the families that made it possible, for us all to enjoy the freedoms that we take for granted.”

Veterans Day traces its roots back to Armistice Day, which marked the end of fighting along the Western Front in World War One on Nov. 11, 1918. In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day an official, annual national holiday. In 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day.

“If you are a veteran who served your country, I want to personally say thank you for your commitment to keeping our country safe and for being part of the best Army in the world,” Wildermann said. “As a nation, we must ensure that the service and sacrifice of our veterans is never overlooked or forgotten.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. military’s All-Volunteer Force, which represented a paradigm shift for the military – instead of drafting young Americans to fill the ranks of the armed forces, the military began depending exclusively on volunteers, as it still does today.

“In the Army, we consider our greatest asset to be our people,” Wildermann said. “Our all-volunteer Army is a credit to Americans of all races, genders and creeds; and our common commitment to defense of, and love for, our country binds us, and unites us, together. That goes to the heart of what it means to be an American.

“You can, ‘Be All You Can Be’ in the Army, and the strength of our force is reflected in the quality and professionalism of our people,” he continued. “Generations of patriots have dedicated themselves to the defense of our country to make us stronger and more resilient as a nation.”