Desert Storm VII Corps Veterans and your Families,
On this Memorial Day 25 May 2020, this special day in America we honor and remember all our men and women who died in military service to our Nation. On this most special and sacred day, Denise and I, on behalf of our Association President Mark Rado and our VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association Board, want to thank you and your Families for your own service and our service together in VII Corps during Desert Storm, and together honor and remember this Memorial Day and every day our own Fallen, those 111 of our VII Corps Desert Storm Soldiers who in President Lincoln’s words, “gave that last full measure of devotion.”
This year at our 29th Anniversary Reunion 21-23 February 2020 at Ft. Myer, VA and the Crystal Gateway Marriott, VA, of our victory in 1991, and as we do at each Reunion, at the Memorial Chapel there next to Arlington National Cemetery, Chaplain, Colonel (ret) Wayne Lehrer, assisted by Chaplain Col (ret) Dave O’Connell, conducted a military Memorial Service, where our past Association President MG (ret) John Altenburg called out each of the names of our Fallen one by one. One of our former commanders gives commander remarks as is right at these ceremonies. This year Col (ret) Greg Fontenot, Wartime Commander of TF 2-34 Armor, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, gave thoughtful, moving, and inspiring remarks.
We said at the end of Desert Storm over 29 years ago that “we will never forget” and we have not forgotten our VII Corps comrades nor as a Nation all those who have fallen in military service.
Yet, these are unique and unprecedented times now for our Nation this Memorial Day 2020. Battling to defeat this scourge of a COVID-19 virus, these pandemic virus times have demanded much of our Nation and all of us across our Nation and in our VII Corps Veteran Family and your own Families. We admire and are deeply grateful for all our health care professionals, some perhaps from our own ranks of VII Corps Veterans as well as all those in our Armed Forces and those of you at home who are serving with such courage and devotion on the front lines to defeat this virus. Blessings to them and to all of you and your Families in our VII Corps Veteran Family and your own Families to stay well.
So in these demanding times this year of 2020, on this day that has become sacred in America all across our great Nation and especially in these unique and life challenging times of defeating this virus pandemic, may we all pause in our own way this Memorial Day 2020 in deep remembrance to honor and remember our own Fallen and all those who gave it all in military service–and their Families who bear the pain of their loss.
We value our service with each of you. We are still planning our 30th Reunion the weekend of 25-28 February 2021 in Washington DC at the Crystal Gateway Marriott and Ft. Myer, VA Chapel and perhaps even the new Army Museum with details to follow. We look forward to seeing many of you there at this special 30th Anniversary Reunion. Blessings to all of you to stay well and remain in contact with each other.
Fred M. Franks, Jr.
Gen, US Army (ret)
Chairman VII Corps DSVA