Veteran's Day Ceremony at the Corozal American Cemetery
Friday, November 11 2011 @ 04:58 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
The Corozal American Cemetery is one of 24 American military cemeteries located in foreign countries that is designed, constructed, operated and maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). The Isthmian Canal Commission originally established Corozal American Cemetery on two acres of land in 1914 when the Ancon Cemetery in Quarry Heights was deactivated.
The Corozal Cemetery eventually grew to a size of approximately sixty acres and was operated by the Grounds Maintenance Division of the Panama Canal Company. On 19 January 1979, President Carter signed Executive Order 12115 as part of the Panama Canal Treaty. This order included the designation of a permanent American cemetery of approximately 17 acres in size. In October of 1979, the Panama Canal Treaty became effective and the Panama Canal Company transferred Corozal Cemetery to the U.S. Army. On 5 June 1982, the U.S. Army signed over the cemetery to ABMC.
Today, the Corozal American Cemetery contains more than 5,300 graves, the oldest of which dates back to the year 1790. The cemetery is unique within ABMC as it contains the remains of veterans that have served in the the Spanish American War, Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Lebanon, Desert Storm and the International War on Terrorism. Bruce Phelps is an AMBC employee who oversees and manages the Corozal American Cemetery, and he also sits on the Veteran's Day Committee which organizes this event every year.
Veterans Day Program:
- Welcoming Remarks - Carlos Gordon, Past VFW Department Commander
- National Anthem of the Republic of Panama
- National Anthem of the United States of America
- Invocation - Reverend Danoval Johnson, Methodist Church
- Recognition of Guest of Honor / Presidential Proclamation - COL Gregory Barrack, SR Defense Official, US Embassy
- Remarks - The Honorable Phyllis M. Powers, United States Ambassador to Panama
- Organizational Wreath Laying:
- VFW - CSM Chatam, American Legion
- Scottish Rites Bodies, Abou Saad, Shriners
- B.P.O. Elks
- US Navy League
- American Society
- U.S. Embassy Wreath Laying AMB Powers and COL Barrack
- Veterans Day Prayer - Anita Littesy, VFW Ladies Auxiliary
- Armed Forces Medley / Closing Remarks Carlos Gordon, VFW
- To all veterans in attendance, thank you for your service. VFW Ladies Auxiliary will hold a reception after the ceremony.
Veteran's Day During Wartime: Since the start of the "War on Terror" in 2001, 6,280 American military men and women have lost their lives while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 41,221 have been injured. Right now, today, there are families who just recently received the word of the loss of a loved one. And, there are injured veterans laying in hospital beds in VA and military facilities, recovering from wounds received in battle. And there are those from older generations who's scars have faded somewhat, but they still might walk with a limp on one hand, but with their heads held high and bolstered by pride on the other. Please take a moment to simply say "thank you for your service" if you run into a veteran today. On a personal note: I would like to make a personal dedication to my good friend Charles "Ernie" Paschal, who died this year in March. When I heard that he had died I asked some mutual friends what had happened. I was told "In short, Ernie suffered from PTSD, contracted pneumonia, and died of sepsis. Very rough last 2 years as he practically gave up on everything." Ernie was the best Arabic linguist in the Air Force, one of the smartest dudes I've ever met, hilariously funny, and a good friend. He will be sadly missed. And, I have no doubt that he died due to the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and subsequent depression. I have no idea if he's listed as a casualty of war, but he should be. Before I went to the ceremony today I pinned my wings on my polo shirt, in honor of, and in remembrance of, my good friend.
Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.