'It makes me really proud:' Veterans Day observance ceremony unites those who have served

Pamela Vertanen

MILWAUKEE -- In times of war and in times of peace, the five branches of our military unite in observance of Veterans Day.

“Makes you want to re-enlist all over again!” said Pamela Vertanen, U.S. Air Force veteran.

At the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Monday, Nov. 12, brothers and sisters of the U.S. military stood as one.

“I stand here with you, for you -- in gratitude,” said Joe Campbell, Vietnam War veteran. “Thank you for giving your life for me, for us. If that isn’t freedom, I don’t know what is.”

Joe Campbell

Veterans Day observance at Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Darryl Cooke

Veterans were reminded of their own sacrifices, and the sacrifices of those who weren't so lucky.

“He went home in a casket. I got to go home in an airplane,” said Campbell.

“Tears in my eyes, but I’m a Marine. I’m not supposed to cry,” said Darryl Cooke, Vietnam War veteran.

The ceremony featured a presentation of colors by American Legion Post 416 and the "Military Medley" by the American Legion Band.

Veterans Day observance at Milwaukee VA Medical Center

“It’s a very special time for me. I like to put on my camouflage,” said Cooke.

“I love my country. I love the Air Force. I love our military. I just...it makes me really proud,” said Vertanen. “It’s one of the things I’ve done in my life that I’m most proud of.”

Veterans Day observance at Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Together, a promise among veterans was made to teach future generations about the past.

“Be it as they may, those of us who made it, which is us, have an obligation to build again and to teach others what they know,” said Campbell.

“God bless America,” said Cooke.

The Milwaukee VA Medical Center is always looking for volunteers. For details, CLICK HERE.