A day to thank all veterans
By J. Chambless
State Rep. Christina Sappey greets a veteran before the event.
The patriotism and the pride were the same as always at the Kennett Area Senior Center’s Veterans Luncheon on Nov. 1, an annual celebration of the contributions of the armed forces. Although the years are catching up and the number of veterans at the luncheon was lower than usual, the spirit of the day was undiminished.
Emcee Matt Grieco opened the program and introduced the color guard from Kennett Square’s William W. Fahey Post 491, who took their places near the stage during the Pledge of Allegiance and “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The Lukens Band, under director Richard Miller, played a medley of patriotic music and other selections for an hour before Grieco introduced some special guests in the room, as well as the guest speaker, retired Colonel Cynthia J. Abbadini, who served for 28 years in the Army Nurse Corps, retiring in 2013. Her illustrated talk focused on women in the U.S. Army, beginning with their roles in the Revolutionary War and ending at the present day. She spotlighted the creation of the Army Nurse Corps, the Women’s Army Corps, admittance of women to Reserve Officer Training Corps and military academies, the expansion of military specialties open to women, the lifting of the ban on women in direct combat roles, and more.
“Although the roles for women in the military have been debated, they have served on the front lines since the Revolutionary War,” Abbadini said. “Women now make up about 10 percent of all veterans. Women have shown they are more than capable of contributing in every way to military service, and we will continue to do so in the future.”
State Rep. Stephen Barrar spoke to the audience about his role as chairman of the Veteran Affairs Committee. “I have the best committee in Harrisburg,” he said. “There are now about a million veterans living in Pennsylvania, and my mission it make sure we say ‘Thank you.’”
State Rep. Christina Sappey, who also serves on the Veteran Affairs Committee, said, “I am not personally a veteran, but my father served in the Navy, and like many men of his generation, he was reluctant to share his stories. Events like this one are so important for us to reconnect with each other. You are the fabric of our community.”
Sen. Andrew Dinniman was also at the event, and told the audience, “I’m here to thank you and to recognize all of your tremendous contributions … Thank God for the military, so we can all sleep comfortably in our houses at night. With all the chaos that’s going on in our country today, it’s as if each of us is the enemy. But we’re coming together today as one to honor all of you who have served, and continue to serve. Thank you all.”
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email [email protected].