AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The annul Augusta-CSRA Veterans Day Observance at the All Wars Monument allowed veterans and supporters to pay their respects and reflect.
The monument in Olde Town is the usual gathering place for the event, which brings out the CSRA’s elected officials too.
This event was truly a sight to see.
The event’s keynote speaker, Major General Neil S. Hersey, Commanding General, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, praised veterans for their service.
As each war was called out, starting with the most recent, those veterans stood and received applause. The oldest war with a veteran present was from the Korean Conflict. We spoke with him about why he served.
Chuck Siebert, a Navy Veteran during the Korean Conflict, told us, “I’ve always believed in my government and I joined while I was in high school.”
Two years after WWII, Siebert enlisted in the Navy Reserve. The year was 1947, and he was a high school junior.
“No houses were built during World War II, no streets were put in,” Siebert said. “We were busy fighting the war. So, it was a big build-up time.”
Three years later, Siebert was serving during the Korean Conflict. And just a few years following that was the Vietnam War. And one veteran tells us that, for him, that war meant taking care of man’s best friend.
“The dog’s job was to alert on the enemy to give the soldiers and the airmen time to beef up the defenses to counter the attacks.” Bill Wigginton told us. He spent time in Vietnam and Thailand in the early 70s preparing his first dog, Sarge 617X, and his second dog, Blackie X850, for war.
“The dogs could detect snipers, ambushes, booby traps, weapons cache, bombs, mines, trip wires,” Wiggington told us.
Veterans from all wars received recognition along with veterans organizations. And the group heard words from a Netherlands Liaison Officer.
LTC Mark E. De Wolff said, “Jewish families were systematically being picked up street by street and deported. The school classes for my parents became more and more empty not knowing what happened to their friends, schoolmates and their families.”
“It was the Women’s Army Corps when I went in and it was very difficult during that time because we were separated from the males,” said Command Sgt. Major Ret. Linda Boddy, an Army veteran. “Once we did that, got our training and served alongside males. It was a great experience.”
During the observance, it was mentioned that there is an estimated 20.4 million living U.S. veterans.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps