The 51 armed services veterans who work at Whirlpool Cleveland received a heartfelt tribute from Plant Manager Dicky Walters on Thursday, along with being treated to lunch.
Walters and Communications Specialist Brandi King said the local Whirlpool facility recognizes its veterans around Veterans Day each year, and this year former servicemen (and women) were treated to a hot dog lunch with all the trimmings.
An additional treat was an appearance by the Bradley County Funeral Honor Guard with a 21-gun salute for the veterans, the first time the honor guard has appeared at Whirlpool.
Walters said he did a little research on the meaning and founding of Veterans Day.
"This special day dates back over 90 years, and honors all veterans — active duty, guardsmen and reservists," he said.
"It is only one day in November each year, but every day is really Veterans Day," he continued. "The freedoms and rights we all enjoy are because of what you did 365 days per year. I challenge all of us to remember this, and to always reach out to support our veterans."
Walters said Thursday's special event at Whirlpool was just one small gathering of many that are occurring over the next few days across the nation. "It is about honoring this unique group of individual who we all work with every day here at Whirlpool."
He said this group of individuals, like so many others across the nation, answered the call to duty and are part of the reason the U.S. military is one of the most respected organizations on the planet today.
"You have gone above and beyond your duty as a citizen of this great country to protect me, to protect us, and to defend the rights and freedoms we all enjoy every day."
Walters then voiced several "thank yous" to the attending veterans:
• "Thank you for being willing to put your personal plans on hold for the sake of our nation's plans;
• Thank you and your families, who also made a huge sacrifice;
• Thank you for being a role model to others who have chosen to enlist in the military because of the example you have set for them (a legacy which lives on through them);
• Thank you for your willingness to go where your service was needed, whether it was across the state, or around the globe;
• Thank you for your courage, your determination, your selflessness, your dedication and your pride; and
• Thank you for what you stood for as an active member of the military, thank you for what you still stand for now, and thank you for what you will always stand for!"
As Walters neared the end of his speech he said he, and many others, are forever grateful for the service of our veterans.
"We appreciate your service today, and every day," he added in conclusion.
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