In McLean, American Legion Post 270 held its annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Memorial Grove, located near the entrance of McLean High School. In an effort not to conflict with the Friends of the Great Falls Freedom Memorial service, the American Legion held its ceremony at 12:30 p.m., rather than the usual "11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year" time earmarked for Veterans Day.
American Legion Post 270 member Jay Edwards brought several thank you cards, made for U.S. soldiers by local elementary school children. Edwards read several of the cards aloud, noting that "no one says thank you to the veterans better than our children."
Edwards also recalled a recent experience he had with a wounded U.S. soldier. As founders of the award-winning Angels of Mercy program, Edwards and his wife Marian Chirichella had the honor of escorting several injured soldiers on a special visit to the Pentagon. As Edwards pushed the wheelchair of a soldier into the executive dining area, he leaned over and told the young man that they were about to meet "the important people."
"That soldier turned to me and said 'sir, we are the important people,' and he was absolutely right," said Edwards.
U.S. REP. Frank Wolf (R-10th) gave a few brief remarks at the event, and said that today's American troops are just as commendable as U.S. veterans from wars past.
"This generation is as good as any generation that we've ever had," said Wolf. "We live in America, the only country in the world that is based on an idea — the idea of freedom."
Jane Strauss, Fairfax County School Board representative for the Dranesville District, also spoke at the event. Strauss emphasized Fairfax County's commitment to turning out students who understand the importance of public service.
"We must raise a generation of children who are committed to service," said Strauss. "One day we may have to depend on them to preserve our nation."
American Legion Post 270 member Norm Duncan reminded those present to also remember the contributions of various coalition members that have aided American military units around the globe.
"We must never forget all the participants in this particular war for democracy," said Duncan. "I hope that we can achieve an honorable peace this coming 2007."