It was a rainy day in Lebanon County, but that didn’t stop local veterans and officials from turning out to the 2019 Veterans Recognition Ceremony held Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Lebanon VA Medical Center.

The event was held at the Lebanon VA Medical Center.

The ceremony, held in advance of Veterans Day (Nov. 11), was conducted in the VA Chapel, located in Building 106 on the Lebanon VAMC campus.

All photos by LebTown photographer Will Trostel.

David Minnich (not pictured) led guests of the ceremony in singing verses 1 & 3 of Hymn #799 in the Celebration Hymnal – more commonly known as “America the Beautiful.”
Col. Douglas Etter, chief communications officer of the Lebanon VAMC, introduces United States Rep. Dan Meuser (R-9).
Rep. Meuser addresses the crowd at Thursday’s ceremony.
Pamphlets were passed out containing info for the event. See the full PDF here.
Maj. Gen. John L. Gronski was the event’s keynote speaker. Maj. Gen. Gronski retired in June 2019 as the Deputy Commanding General for Army National Guard, U.S. Army Europe. Gronski has commanded infantry units at the company, battalion, brigade, and division levels.
Maj. Gen. Gronski showcasing his special socks during the speech.
Grosnki engaging with guests. Gronski’s decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and nearly a dozen others. Find his full bio in the PDF here.
Employees of the Lebanon VAMC join in with Hymn #807, also known as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” David Minnich (not pictured) also led attendees through this song.
Gronski speaking with guests shortly after the event.

As part of the event, there were a few surprises for guests in attendance. Most special were the hand-written thank you notes from students across the Commonwealth. Here is one from a 16-year-old in Boiling Springs (Cumberland County) who thanked the veterans in attendance for risking their lives in sake of the greater good.

Gifts were also handed out to guests of the event including a voucher for a free cup of coffee at the Lebanon VAMC’s Patriot Café and a 20oz stainless steel tumbler.

Veterans Day will be recognized nationwide on Monday, Nov. 11. Below we have reprinted In Flanders Field, the poem that inspired the use of red poppies to recognize our nation’s veterans, and which was featured in the program for yesterday’s ceremony.

In Flanders Field
By Major John McCrae, 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Want to read more about the Lebanon VA Medical Center? Here is some of our recent related coverage.


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