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Fort Drum marks Veterans Day with ceremony to honor those who served


FORT DRUM — In the mind of Michael T. Plummer, a veteran comes in a wide range of different forms.

The nurse who fought to save lives overseas. The cop who ensured shipments and personnel made it safely to their destination during deployments. The wheelchaired man at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital who is called “sir” by the people who visit him.

“A veteran is an ordinary and yet extraordinary human being, a person who gave some of his or her life, those vital years, in service of country,” the former 10th Mountain Division chief of staff said. “Who placed self in harm’s way so we and our children could continue to breathe the fresh air of freedom.”

The retired colonel, who spoke Thursday during the post’s Veterans Day ceremony, said he was proud of his military service and of being a veteran.

“They are all heroes to me, and I am humbled to have been privileged to know and serve such incredible men and women throughout my life,” Mr. Plummer said.

The holiday first was commemorated in 1919 as Armistice Day, recognizing the end of fighting during World War I, and became a federal holiday in 1938.

The holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Thursday’s ceremony also was a time to remember the sacrifices of those who have faced the risks of entering combat.

William Morrison, president of the Northern New York chapter of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, said that, for those who have been to war, their moments of combat were “forever frozen in time.”

Mr. Morrison served with the division in Italy during World War II.

“They need to be remembered now and possibly years down the road, because they are a part of who we are, and not to be forgotten,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, post and division commander, spoke on the contributions veterans have made.

“American veterans have accomplished extraordinary things for the good of our county and the world,” he said. “They’ve earned our eternal gratitude and the honor of this grateful nation and remembrance on this day each year.”

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