About 30 minutes before the start of a Veterans Day ceremony Friday, the Harmony Cornet Band struck up its music, filling the social hall at Francis Scott Key Post 11 of the American Legion on Taney Avenue in Frederick with patriotic music and marches.
An annual Veterans Day ceremony is usually at Frederick’s Memorial Park, but Friday’s rainy weather forced it inside, said Kimberly Davis, the post’s 1st vice commander, who served eight years in the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant.
First celebrated as Armistice Day in the wake of World War I, Veterans Day was declared as a holiday with its current name by Congress in 1954, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
It’s celebrated on Nov. 11, the 11th day of the 11th month of the year.
Veterans Day is a time when it’s important to pause and look back “with hearts that are appreciative” of veterans’ service, said the Rev. Dave Oravec, the guest speaker at Friday’s event.
A chaplain and captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve, Oravec is the deputy fleet chaplain for the commander Sixth Fleet.
A former pastor at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Frederick, he’s currently the pastor of St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Annapolis.
The day is not just for those who saw combat but to honor all who served, he said Friday.
“I recognize that I’m looking into the eyes of who this fits,” he said as he looked around the mostly full room.
Dave Quin was recognized as the Legionnaire of the Year at Friday’s ceremony.
An Army veteran of the Vietnam War, Quin said he’s been a member of the post for nine years.
Many who served in Vietnam don’t like to talk about their service, Quin said after the ceremony.
“And I was one of those.”
He remembers changing planes in Chicago on a flight home from the West Coast, when a man boarding the plane refused to sit next to Quin in his uniform.
“So that was my welcome home,” he said.
One of his employees encouraged him to join the American Legion, but he didn’t want to be involved with the military.
Now, the longer he’s been a member, the more he regrets not joining earlier, he said.
He helps set up the post’s bingo nights on Wednesdays and serves on the Operations Committee.
Quin brings good energy to the post, getting people to help with whatever needs to be done, Cmdr. Otis Smith said.
Quin said volunteering at the Legion is different from other volunteer work.
It’s the camaraderie of talking with other veterans and sharing their common experiences, he said.
Helping one another and talking about what they saw is good for the veterans, said Monica Quin, Dave’s wife.
“It’s supporting each other,” she said.
Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP
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