PDT Staff Writer
The Scioto County Veterans Services Commission held its annual Veterans Day Ceremony in Tracy Park on Monday and honored area veterans and those who’ve served in Afghanistan. The featured speaker for the event was Scioto County Resident Dr. Brian Montgomery, Chief of Optometry at the Chillicothe Veterans Administration Medical Center in Chillicothe.
“Today, I’m here to say thank you. I’m thankful for the foundation of freedom and security that the veterans have provided to me and my family. Throughout history the military has made us a unique country, unlike any other on the face of the earth. We have over 46 million veterans living here in the United States today. We owe them a whole lot for what they have provided for us,” Montgomery said. “I’m thankful for the influence veterans have had on my life. I look back at church members, family members and people throughout the community and the roll models they were.”
He said from the veterans throughout his life he has been able to learn about, duty, honor, self respect, courage and many other things that have been helpful throughout his life.
“I’m for the support they have given me during my time of service. Without that it makes it very difficult,” Montgomery said.
He then told a story of a time in service, “I had been gone for about 15 months and was on my way home. It was a cold December evening when we were flying back. We were supposed to refuel over the Atlantic Ocean but, the weather was bad and we could not refuel. So we landed in Maine at a small international guard base. This was the first time we had been on U.S. soil in about 15 months,” Montgomery said.
“This was an unplanned stop but, as we get off the plane there were 20 Vietnam veterans waiting for us to say, welcome home. You talk about an impact on your life. That story still gives me cold chills today.”
He said since the service honored veterans from Afghanistan, it reminded him of what Mike Spann once wrote. Spann died in the Afghanistan War.
“He was a veteran of the Marine Corps., after he left the Marine Corps., he went to the CIA. On his application to the CIA he wrote, “I believe in the meaning of honor and integrity. I am an action person who feels personally responsible for making any changes in this world that are in my power…because if I don’t, no one else will,” Montgomery said.
“Because if I don’t, no one else will, these are the people we have that are serving us today. I am so proud of them and am so thankful for veterans and the positive outlook I have on my future because of these veterans.”
The Portsmouth West High School Band and vocal choir were also in attendance to perform as apart of the ceremony.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.