Several events throughout Jefferson County commemorated Veteran's Day. The Jefferson County Council on Aging, in Ranson, held a ceremony Friday honoring those veterans who attend there. Each veteran received a certificate of appreciation and a round of applause from those gathered for a brief ceremony.
The seniors welcomed Col. Kim Sencindiver, chief CBRD Enterprise Medical Forces at the National Guard Base in Washington, D.C. Sencindiver shared information about the National Guard and all the responsibilities held by that entity. She explained that the National Guard trains on two levels and serves on two levels: that of a military force abroad when needed and that of an assistance force here at home.
Sencindiver shared a video with the attendees that showed many places and projects where National Guard members serve both in their foreign and domestic services.
Members of the Jefferson High's JROTC stand at attention after raising the flags at a Veteran's Day celebration at the Jefferson County Council on Aging in Ranson.
Sencindiver, who has served for 30 years in the military, has been a firefighter, medic, flight nurse, WMD officer and CBRD expert. She has traveled extensively to Israel and Russia to work with Special Forces in emergency response and has represented the United States on international crisis management meetings and exercises.
A Jefferson County local, she has a masters degree in Homeland Security and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force War College.
Also held in celebration of the Veteran's Day holiday was the annual ceremony at Jefferson Memorial Park in Charles Town. The event, held at 11 a.m. Sunday, had guest speaker Lt. Col. Rodney Neely share his thoughts on service to country. Neely serves in the U.S. Air Force National Guard and told those in attendance that he had been in the Guard for 25 years before being called to active duty. It was just a few short weeks ago that Neely returned from a tour in Afghanistan.
In addition to Neely's comments, the ceremony Sunday had the laying of wreaths by several organizations including the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3522, American Legion Post #71, Sons of the Legion, the Daughters of the American Revolution Beeline Chapter and members of the Jefferson High School JROTC.
Ann Rock, a member of the VFW Post #3522 Ladies Auxiliary explained the significance of a small empty table set with a candle, a rose and an inverted glass in honor and memory of prisoners of war and those missing in action.
The ceremony concluded with the playing of Taps by members of the JHS JROTC, followed by a lunch at the American Legion Post.
Sunday in Shepherdstown had veterans honored as part of the 250th anniversary closing ceremonies.
In Harpers Ferry, an annual parade took place on Monday morning to honor those who served. Members of the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry District Veterans were the focal point of the parade and were joined by the middle school's marching band, cub scouts and American Girl marchers as well as local police and mayors of both towns.
Speaking at the ceremony following the parade was Capt. Keith A. Lowry, USN (Ret.) Lowry resides outside of Shepherdstown and had served as a Naval Reserve Intelligence Officer.
Lowry spoke on veterans and how they perceive themselves, specifically not as heroes. Lowry explained that prior to his own service, he had considered veterans heroes. His father was a veteran, his brother also and to him they were heroes.
"It wasn't until I returned from a second overseas tour that it really dawned on me that I too was a veteran," he said. "However, my perspective on the term hero has changed slightly, because I don't consider myself a hero."
He shared that veterans are people who serve their country, often looking danger in the eye, saying "Today you will not harm my friends or fellow countrymen. Not today. Not on my watch."
He said that when asked about being a hero, he denies he is one himself. "I am not a hero, but I served with many," he concluded.