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VA Hospital Salutes Veterans For Service

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Charlotte Albright
/
VPR
Carol Covey, US Navy, Retired, lays wreath on the Veterans Brick Walkway at the VA Hospital in White River Junction on Veterans Day.

For Veterans Day the VA Medical Center in White River Junction officials honored members of the armed services by laying a memorial wreath near a war monument. Following that remembrance outdoors, the ceremony moved into an auditorium for a keynote speech by Col. Mark Pomeroy.

"Most modern day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your hero meter on today's athletic fields. I would say that nearly every veteran I have ever met, especially the real heroes, have been humble to the core." - Col. Mark Pomeroy

The much decorated Army officer served in many conflicts including Somalia and Iraq. Pomeroy quipped that a veteran is “someone who had some point in their life wrote a blank check to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their own life.” But he said true heroes are usually not interested in glory.

“Most modern day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your hero meter on today’s athletic fields. I would say that nearly every veteran I have ever met, especially the real heroes, have been humble to the core,” Pomeroy said.

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Credit Charlotte Albright / VPR
Betty Wiehe looks at the brick recently laid in memory of her husband, Edwin, who served in the Vietnam War and died decades later of complications from Agent Orange exposure. The memorial walkway leads to the VA Hospital in White River Junction.

All the more reason, he reminded the audience, to honor soldiers and their families, not just on Veterans Day, but every day.

The ceremony included music from the Lyme Town Band.

In front of the hospital, there’s a memorial walkway honoring veterans who have died. Betty Wiehe studied the newest brick, with her husband’s name on it. He served in Vietnam and she says he died recently from complications due to Agent Orange.

“To recognize our veterans is so important and I have many family members as well who are. I like to see the kids here, the ROTC, it’s very impressive,” Wiehe said, brushing back a tear.  

She says her nephew is now in the Army. Wiehe believes Veterans Day should be a time to honor those who are still in combat, as well as those who have--or have not—returned from battle.