Every year in November, our nation comes together to celebrate our veterans – those who fought for the freedom of the American people. At Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), the Veteran Employee Readiness Group (VET-ERG) led the charge in celebration, hosting the annual Veterans Day Fall-In for Colors Nov. 10.
“This is one of our most significant events of the year as we gather together and pay tribute to the many service members—both active duty and retired—here at our shipyard, in our families, and throughout our country who have devoted their lives to protecting our nation,” said NNSY Executive Officer Capt. Todd Nichols. “So many of our nation’s veterans have served in the face of adversity without regard for self, and in the face of danger. They have modeled for us the qualities of heroism, leadership, sacrifice, honor and devotion to duty. Chances are many of you recognize and appreciate that some of the most influential persons in your lives have been veteran friends, family and mentors—through their life-changing advice, through lighting our life’s path, and through constant modeling of what right looks like.”
Veterans Day originated from Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, which occurred on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Each year at NNSY, the shipyard workforce comes together to support the men and women who fought and continue to fight for the freedom of the nation. At NNSY alone, there are more than 3,000 veterans employed with more than 650 considered Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Wounded Warriors.
The fall-in invited all shipyard personnel, tenants, and Sailors to attend in the current COVID-19 safety regulated environment, with attendees wearing face coverings at all times and practicing physical distancing. Following the ceremony, Shipyard Commander Rear Admiral Howard Markle hosted a cake cutting with Oscar Thorpe and Rashad Williams, the oldest and youngest veterans employed at America’s Shipyard.
“Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace — dead or alive — although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices. Celebrating Veterans Day is a matter of historic and patriotic significance reaching back to the end of World War I, which ended on Nov. 11, 1918, and dubbed Armistice Day. With 2020 being an interesting and challenging year, especially with restrictions and precautions for COVID, it is even more significant to continue with traditions to keep a sense of normalcy alive and strong and celebrate our Veterans,” said Nicholas Boyle, VET-ERG President. “For me as a Navy-Retiree, as well as President of the VET-ERG, it is important to celebrate the service of those who came before us, those that are currently serving on Active Duty, and the future Veterans who are yet to serve. ”
For VET-ERG Officer Ricky Burroughs, celebrating Veterans Day at NNSY is something he looks forward to each year, as a reminder to others of those who have sacrificed so much to service the nation. “My military service was the ultimate test for me that manifested and became my destiny,” said Burroughs, a Navy-Retired Chief Warrant Officer (CWO4). “Being part of the service strengthened me both mentally and physically and opened up the world to me. I feel it brought out the best in me as I’ve seen it do for others as well. I have so much respect for those who served or continue to serve – and to see that the pride that resides in us also resides in those who celebrate our accomplishments really brings me joy.”