By Col. Donna Hershey, MSN CRNP NHA, director of personal care and outpatient services, Masonic Village at Elizabethtown
Col. Hershey is also assigned to the 807th Medical Command, based in Salt Lake City, which manages all the Army Reserve deployable field medical units in the upper midwest to Ohio and west to California
Veterans Day. What does it represent … a day off work, the availability of some good sale promotions, or a time of reflection and recognition of those brothers and sisters in arms who serve, past and present?
I will always place the mission first
I will never accept defeat
I will never quit
I will never leave a fallen comrade
I am an American Soldier
These are the Army Values that those who serve follow. The “Massing of the Colors” flag display brings this in clear focus to me as I recognize what each one of the flags represents: a life given in service to one’s country. I remember growing up hearing the words of JFK, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Military service is one way of demonstrating what one can do for one’s country, and while it is not as common as it once was, it is humbling when military service and sacrifice are remembered in such a visible way.
The addition of the Eternal Flame in Masonic Village at Elizabethtown’s Veterans Grove is yet another recognition of the sacrifice of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters across many generations. Unlike other conflicts and wars, the flags placed on the hillside are from a new military generation … the all-volunteer military force or as it has been referred to recently, “the 1%.”
As fewer and fewer Americans decide (or are able) to wear the uniform of military service, it is comforting to know there are those when the question is asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” that the answer is, “Here am I. Send Me!” (Isaiah 6:8).
Happy Veterans Day.
A memorial to each soldier who has died in combat since 9/11, the “Massing of the Colors,” and its nearly 7,000 American flags, was on display Nov. 3 – 12 in the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown’s Veterans Grove. The National Sojourners – Harrisburg Chapter No. 76 created the “Massing of the Colors” memorial in 2004 and has displayed the flags at Masonic Village since 2011. Volunteers from Masonic Village, the Sojourners and the community help to set up the thousands of American flags and dozens of Pennsylvania flags representing soldiers from the Keystone state.