SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
Seven months before the Treaty of Versailles was signed officially ending World War I, an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, a day to be filled with pride for the heroism of those who died in service of our country.
In 1954, after the greatest mobilization of Airmen, Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors in the nation’s history had been used to defeat the Germans, Japanese, and to fight the aggression in Korea, Congress approved changing the name of Armistice Day to what Americans now call, Veterans Day.
In a show of support to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the local veterans, and to all who have served, Wayne County held the annual Veterans Day Parade in Downtown Goldsboro, North Carolina. An estimated 8,000 people attended the parade, in which 149 Airmen marched through the streets.
Col. Christopher Sage, 4th Fighter Wing commander, spoke on behalf of the base.
“Today, we come together as a community in order to celebrate our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who’ve carried out brave actions with quiet courage,” said Sage. “We honor all who wore the uniform in service to our country and we thank those who continue to serve.”
Sage continued by commemorating some of the Airmen who have provided ground-breaking capabilities, such as Capt. Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier Oct. 14, 1947.
“We often think of the historical figures when we celebrate this day, but many of you have your own heroes in mind,” Sage said. “Grandfathers who stormed the beaches of Normandy, aunts or uncles you look up to for answering their nation’s call to serve in Vietnam.”
Each veteran has faced different challenges while serving their country; all have paid a price. Whether it was being away from family, going to places they’ve never heard of, or fighting an enemy they’ve never met, all veterans put their duty, honor, and country above themselves.
To honor 4th Fighter Wing Airmen, a new monument was unveiled at the 4th Mission Support Group building on base by Sage and Col. Richard Dickens, 4th Operations Group commander.
“This monument represents all of the Airmen from the 4th Fighter Wing who have paid the ultimate price for their service, and the Airmen who have become aces throughout the history of the 4th Fighter Wing,” said Bill Allgaier, the lead on the project.
The monument also depicts all of the aircraft the wing has flown including the F-15E Strike Eagle.
Both sides list the rank and names of the aces, those missing in action, killed in action, and the prisoners of war who belonged to the 4FW, 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, and the 4th Fighter Group.
Sage said the monument is a great way to have Airmen reflect on their country’s past, preserve it, and build a better future.
“I am proud to serve with the amazing Airmen at Seymour Johnson and to be a part of this incredible community,” said Sage.
As the Girl Scouts from Troop 4396 exclaimed during the parade, “Happy Veterans Day, and thank you for your service!”