Photos (after article) and article by Mary Alice Murphy

American Legion Allingham-Golding Post 18 hosted the annual Veterans' Day ceremony at the American Legion Hall. Post Commander David Morrison served as master of ceremonies.

John Tetford led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Lorraine Anglin singing The National Anthem.  Ray Bejarano presented the invocation.

John Sterle manned the P.O.W.-M.I.A. table while Tim Zamora read what each symbol stands for.

The Hi Lo Silvers, led by Valdeen Wooton, performed the Armed Forced Salute, with veterans of the different branches of the Armed Forces standing or waving when their song came up.

Air Force Col. Susan Beck, Ret., served as guest speaker. "I'm grateful to be speaking to you on such an important occasion. We are here today to honor our veterans, to acknowledge their achievements, their courage and their dedication, and to say thank you to them for their sacrifice."

"Being with the heroes who have joined us here today and those who are here with us only in spirit a person can't help but feel awed by this gathering," she continued. "We are in the midst of patriots and the family and friends who have stood with those who have served so nobly. I'm honored to be among you."

She said she had received a call from Ray Davis (an Air Force veteran and long-time American Legion member. to serve as guest speaker. "I looked in our guest room closet for my Air Force uniform. I haven't worn it since I last spoke on Veterans' Day in 2018, and I wondered if it would still fit. I tried it on and verified that, in fact, it did fit. Thankfully! As I stood there looking at it, for some reason I was reminded of the oath I took to serve our country, an oath we all took. Have you ever thought about the oath that started your military service?"

Beck said the first oaths of office in the U.S. were given to those serving in the Continental Army beginning in June of 1775 and then the Navy in October 1775. "The candidate had to not only name the 13 states at that time but also swear to keep them 'free, independent and sovereign states and declare no allegiance to George the third, King of Great Britain.' They also had to swear that they would 'defend the United States against King George and all his heirs and successors.'"

The oath was updated in September 1776 after the Declaration of Independence was signed. At that time they swore to be "true to the United States of America and to serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies and opposers whatsoever, and to observe and obey the order of the Continental Congress and the orders of the general and offers set over them."  In 1789 the oath swore allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.

A small change was made in the 1860s, but in 1884, it was simplified to having the candidate "solemnly swear (or affirm) to support and defend the Constitution of the  United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic," and the words "So help me God" were added.

In 1959 the oath found its current form: 

The Oath of Enlistment (for enlisted):

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Beck noted that the words So help me God may be omitted for those who want to affirm rather than swear to the oath. 

The Oath of Office (for officers):

"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the _____ (Military Branch) of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God."

Beck said it is traditional for officers to recite the oath upon each promotion, but not required. "I thought it was important, so by my count, I took the oath seven times, starting when i was in ROTC as I made my commitment to serve before starting my junior year of college to enter active military service upon graduation." 

"I told this history, because I wanted everyone here to know or remember the commitment we made when we joined the US Armed Forces," Beck said. "This commitment represents a giving of one's self, even when one's life may be on the line. It entails sacrifice, often untold sacrifice and involves steadfastness toward its completion."

She said she didn't think of it every day nor sometimes for quite a while. "But every day, whether you volunteered to serve or were drafted, you kept your oath. And all your actions added up to something greater than yourself. They aded up to support and defend this country that we love and to preserve our way of life. To me, the oath is something that has an indeterminate period, with no duration specifically defined. So, every day, we can continue to keep the oaths we made."

Beck said she hears more and more that civics is a topic that has been deleted from children's education. That means they have missed out on learning about the rights and duties of citizenship. "Let's advocate for adding them bak so that students will learn what it means to be a citizen of the United States." 

Because of low recruitment rates, she said that "we all have a role to play in encouraging young people to serve our country. It's important that they realize that preserving our country means that they need to step forward, just as we did. They will follow in the footsteps of generations of fine Americans since the beginning of our country."

To those who served to bring back together the country during the Civil War, to World War I and World War II, to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and now to those who are serving all over the world, "we remember and honor every one of them with this commemoration."

"Your presence here today and that of people commemorating this day across American is a tribute to our veterans and our fallen comrades and their families," said said. "It is a way to say: 'We will not forget what you did for us.'"

God bless you and your families; God bless our veterans and our troops; and God bless the United States of America.

Morrison introduced Laura Wiest of the local Daughters of the Revolution chapter, who presented to the American Legion Post 18 a flag that had flown over Constitution Hall.

Ted Presler read an inspirational poem by Neal Dickinson. 

Judy Ruth of the HI Lo Silvers did a solo of "God Bless America." Wooton invited the audience to join the Hi Lo Silvers in singing the chorus of "God Bless America."

Robert Lopez gave the benediction to end the ceremony.

A spaghetti lunch was served by the American Legion Auxiliary to the participants following the ceremony. 

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