Veterans Day is a national holiday in which we show appreciation to those who have served their country in the armed forces. The holiday dates back to 1919. It was originally called Armistice Day and its date celebrates the German surrender that ended the First World War. In 1954, Congress amended the holiday to be known as Veterans Day to honor all of America's veterans.
On the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, we pause to honor America’s Veterans and celebrate their contributions to our way of life. Few have given more to our Nation than the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces in peace and in war.
The Veterans Commission will host a special Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Berlin Veterans Memorial Park on Veterans Way in Berlin.
There will be an Invocation by Michelle Lewis, Pastor, East Berlin Methodist Church. The Berlin High School Chorus, directed by Kathyrn Crabb, will sing the National Anthem and America The Beautiful. Members of the Berlin High School Band, directed by Jeffery Sirois, will play a musical selection.
There will be a rifle volley by the joint members of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 10732 and members of the American Legion Post 68. Berlin High School Trumpeters will play taps.
This year’s guest speaker is Ret. Brigadier General Daniel J. McHale of Avon. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1968. A native of Wethersfield, he served with the 34th Group in Vietnam in diving and demolitions in the Mekong Delta area of Vietnam in 1970 and 1971. He joined the CTARNG in 1973 and, upon completion of Officer Candidate School he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant (Infantry) in the Connecticut Army National Guard.
Over the next 36 years, he served a variety of CTARNG assignments at the company, battalion and, brigade-level commands. This included service as the Air Operations Officer member of Joint Task Force (JTF) for Operation Promote Liberty in Panama. From 2001 to 2005, he was Commander of the 85th Troop Command of the CTARNG, eight battalions with approximately 3,200 soldiers, the majority of which were deployed to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terror.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Gen. McHale was appointed Commander for the CTNG Quick Reaction Force (QRF) which has deployed numerous times to protect critical infrastructure and nuclear power plants sites up and down the East Coast. He retired from the military in August 2005 but was brought out of retirement to oversee the Connecticut National Guard’s Katrina Relief Operation in 2005 and 2006.
Before retirement from the U.S. Postal Service he served as Manager of Customer Service Operations for the Hartford-area post offices and was Postmaster in Simsbury.
Today, Gen. McHale is Connecticut’s Transition Assistance Advisor (TAA), a Department of Defense contractor who provides advocacy and outreach to all generations of veterans, as well as active military and their families. He co-chairs the OIF/OEF/OND Military Support Coalition of over 130 members of Federal, State, Civilian agencies, VSO’s and Military Associations. He was Installed in the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame, Class of 2009, he is the Connecticut Chapter President of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) and also co-chairs the National Guard Association Annual and advocates for Retiree’s.
In the event of rain the exercises will be held in the VFW Hall Post 10732, Massirio Drive at 11 a.m.
Berlin's McGee Middle School to Honor Veterans
(The following was submitted by Tracey Tom)
On Monday, Nov. 11, Catherine M. McGee Middle School will honor our nation’s veterans with a series of activities designed to deepen students’ understanding and respect for those brave men and women who have served their country in the armed forces. All too often our young people fail to fully grasp the meaning of national holidays. The Fourth of July is about fireworks, Memorial Day about hot dogs, and Thanksgiving is a day to honor football if you ask some of our students. With Veterans Day being a school day, we see an opportunity to engage all students in a conversation about the meaning of the holiday.
In order to make the day one which allows students to attach faces and names to local veterans, we are inviting family members, friends, and community members who have served, or who are currently serving in any branch of the armed services to join us for some or all of the day. The morning events will include an assembly (schedule below) during which our band and chorus will offer musical tributes to veterans of all branches. We would love to have veterans in and out of uniform in the audience to be honored by our students.
Assembly in McGee Auditorium. All Veterans in attendance will be honored.
Classroom activities. Veterans are invited to work with groups of students to answer questions and/or discuss9:45-11:20 depending on each team's schedule