FORT DRUM — Maj. Gen. Brian J. Mennes recognized the efforts of veterans who made sure that all of us enjoy our nation’s freedom at a ceremony in advance of the Veterans Day holiday.

About 70 soldiers, local dignitaries and veterans joined Gen. Mennes, commander of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division, on Thursday to remember the sacrifices of veterans and current soldiers who have faced the risks of entering combat.

“We are blessed that we have a country that honors its warriors,” Gen. Mennes said.

The holiday first was commemorated in 1918 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. Monday will be the 101st time that the nation has remembered those who have served our country.

During the ceremony in Memorial Park, the general said he has the best job in America because he’s proud to serve with the soldiers in his command and for the partnership that Fort Drum has forged with the community,

To protect them from a winter-like day, those in attendance stood underneath two blue and white canopies. Some were given Army standard issue blankets to keep them warm.

The general joked that he had thought the ceremony would be held indoors but “a north country rule” would prevent that from happening.

During the brief ceremony, Gen. Mennes and Command Sgt. Maj. David P. Hanson, Command Sergeant Major of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, laid a wreath in front of the post’s Mountaineer Monument.

With a gentle snow falling, a line of soldiers gave a 21-gun salute, followed by a single trumpeter playing taps. A moment of silence ended the solemn ceremony.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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