Retired Lt. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford called on veterans to take leadership, and American government to keep the promises made to veterans, during the 17th annual Veterans Day Commemoration at Dodona Manor, the home of one of the country’s most famous veteran, Gen. George C. Marshall.
“Why is it really that we, as a nation, have such reverence and respect for our veterans? I’ll tell you that I’m of the opinion that our commitment to our veterans is about one big idea. When you crystallize it, and when you really start to think about it, and when you really put your heart into it, it’s about one big idea, and that one big idea is all about the unifying concept of leadership and selfless service,” Crawford said.
The reverential Veterans Day speeches Thursday morning were punctuated with calls to action from both Crawford and others.
“We are also committed to lifelong success for our veterans and their families by continuing to provide them access to the benefits promised. Tributes like this one here today and those that are happening all around the country can ring hollow if we as a nation don’t continue to take the necessary actions to ensure veterans have the access to the resources that not only they deserve, but those that they have rightfully earned,” Crawford said. “Although our veterans hold positions of great influence in the world, given the challenges many of them face, it is clear that our work, ladies and gentlemen, is not yet done.”
Crawford served in the U.S. Army for 34 years, rising to become the Army Chief Information Officer, the principal advisor to the Secretary of the Army and supervising all army IT functions and advising the Chief of Staff of the Army. Among his many accolades and command assignments he has been decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal, and was named 2020 Black Engineer of the Year by the Black Engineer of the year Association. He is also a member of the Marshall Center and formerly served on its executive board.
He repeated a call for employers to consider hiring veterans as they leave the military.
“Our veterans are a diverse group of highly qualified men and women with the knowledge, skills and attributes to make a difference, and make significant contributions to an evolving and competitive global economy,” Crawford said. “When they leave the military ranks, they take with them not only advanced degrees and certifications, but they also have something else that money cannot buy, something we as parents dream for our grandchildren and for our children. And that’s something that I speak of is a high degree of character, a high degree of competence and a high degree of commitment to serving others.”
County Chair Phyllis J. Randall also called for services for veterans, recalling the toll her father’s three tours, one in Korea and two in Vietnam, took on him and the family. She said, “it’s not enough to thank a veteran.”
“If we really want to take care of our veterans, we make sure that they’re not homeless. If we really want to take care of our veterans, we fund the programs. If we really want to take care of our veterans, we recognize mental heath issues, especially PTSD,” Randall said.
The Marshall Center’s event is one of many today; at 5:30 this evening Loudoun County will host a ceremony to rededicate the World War I monument at the courthouse grounds with a new plaque listing the names of thirty Loudoun County residents who fought and died in World War I. The original plaque, placed in 1921, segregated those names by race. The new plaque does not.