Veterans Day is important to all Americans, but it carries an even more elevated meaning to those who have served our country in the Armed Forces. Not only are they recognized for their contribution, but the day demonstrates that the unique bonds brought about through military service remain strong long after the conflicts have finished.
Two Consolidated Nuclear Security managers and veterans, Ken Freeman and Gene Sievers, have volunteered their time to welcome home veterans who have visited Washington, D.C., as part of the HonorAir program. HonorAir Knoxville is a non-profit organization that takes World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built in their honor at zero cost to the veteran.
Can you tell me how you felt about greeting the veterans as they came off the plane?
Sievers: First, I was surprised by the large number of young people gathered at the airport. The energy and excitement of the event was genuine and overwhelming. The veterans sacrificed so much in the defense of our freedom but yet were very humble in accepting the thanks of the people in the crowd.
Freeman: I was proud to be among great Americans who had served with such distinction. Their service continues to inspire exceptional citizenship and the united purpose of keeping America strong.
How do you wish Americans to view the service of those who have defended our country?
Sievers: The demonstration at the HonorAir event is a great start. The country asked these men and women to serve, and they responded without reserve. It is our duty as a country to honor their sacrifice and take every opportunity to recognize them and provide the care many need to live quality lives now that they are safely home.
Freeman: I wish we Americans do exactly what we’re doing — honor and thank our veterans for their service and support those who have served who are less fortunate. There are countless examples of Americans doing just that, and I thank them all.
How did you feel as part of the CNS team greeting the veterans?
Sievers: Personally, I was proud to be part of the CNS team that welcomed these great Americans back to East Tennessee. I would like to thank Eddie and Elaine Warren for inviting me to attend and in leading the CNS support of this wonderful event.
Freeman: I was proud to be among enthusiastic CNS employees who formed part of the crowd that welcomed these brave service men and women home. To give freely of their personal time for such a worthwhile cause is a clear demonstration of the quality of our work force. It was truly an awe-inspiring moment for me.