Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. --
The Combined Force Space Component Command commander Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt gave the keynote speech and joined fellow veterans, coalition members, and other community spectators at Pine Grove Cemetery to honor all who have served their country in war or peace on Nov. 11, 2021. In recognition of a shared history and close partnerships with allies, the ceremony also incorporated universal traditions of remembrance.
The Veterans Day and Remembrance Day event commemorated 103 years since the end of World War I, and 76 years since the end of World War II; for both the United States and its allies, including Canada and the United Kingdom.
Burt and CFSCC senior enlisted leader Chief Master Sgt. Grange Coffin IV placed a wreath for display at the American Legion Post 534 marker of the cemetery. Others from Vandenberg Space Force Base who also paid tribute with wreaths included Royal Air Force Gp. Capt. Darren Whiteley, Combined Space Operations Center deputy commander, and Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Col. Justin Boileau, the commander of the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command space detachment.
The “wreath of remembrance” is inspired by the transcendent form and symbolism of a wreath. For many cultures, wreaths represent notions of eternity, continuity, and memory. Within military history, wreaths carry special layers of meaning: victory, bravery, and peace.
“While Americans celebrate Veterans Day, our allies and partners celebrate Armistice and Remembrance Day, the significance is still the same,” said Burt. “We stand side-by-side to collectively remember the heroes of our nations who served and are still serving today. We may come from different nations, but the idea of believing and fighting for something greater than oneself holds true regardless of nationality.”
The ceremony opened with a reading of the poem, “In Flanders Fields.” It references the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers, which resulted in the poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. The poem and poppy are prominent Remembrance Day symbols, primarily in Canada, where "In Flanders Fields" is one of the nation's best-known literary works.
Royal Air Force Sgt. Stephen Winter of the 18th Space Control Squadron also read a stanza from a poem entitled, “For the Fallen.” “At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them,” said Winter. “We will remember them,” echoed all.
The poem honors those who serve to defend the nation’s independent freedoms and way of life. Ultimately, the poem and collective ceremony paid tribute to the brave men and women of America, and its coalition partners, who have dedicated their lives for a better tomorrow.
“It is because of the brave men and women in uniform that we are here celebrating freely today,” expressed Burt. “The heroics of veterans, past and present, secured our daily liberties. A fact we must never forget.”