American veterans “show and demonstrate there truly is good in our communities,” and to look at those who serve, said Marine Corps veteran Cpl. Enrique Mazon Jr. on Saturday during a Veterans’ Day ceremony at American Legion Post 86 in Rockville, and asked those gathered there to “look at the people who serve” rather than those in the news who demonstrate “divisiveness, a lack of civility and kindness.”
Mazon and his three brothers – all natives of Las Vegas, Nev. – have all served or are currently serving in the military, and have been involved in a combined total of six combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Rockville resident and married father of two praised his parents for showing their children that, “It’s not about us. It’s not about being entitled. It’s about the love. It’s about the duty and the selflessness” of being an American.
It’s important to realize that many who have served in this country’s military are now teachers, doctors, police officers and elected officials. They continue to serve “all with the same duty and dedication” they had while in the military, he said.
However, he said, some of these men and women who served their country now need others to step up and help them.
“We must volunteer” to help veterans who are jobless, homeless or suffer with mental health issues, Mazon said, adding that it is “beyond tragic” that 20 veterans take their own lives every day.
“We must help them,” he said
Mazon served in the Marine Corps from 2005 to 2009. He took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom and served as an administrative clerk for a unit of 1,300 Marines and sailors.
Currently, he works as an international trade specialist with the Office of Country and Regional Affairs’ Western Hemisphere Division at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service, where he deals with American agricultural exports and global food security.
The event’s master of ceremonies, Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, urged everyone to thank veterans for their sacrifice rather than for their service, lamenting that it has become almost routine to honor service members at athletic and other events, which has watered down much of its meaning.
“Our veterans sacrificed so we may have the opportunity to live freely,” she said. “Let us remember that all who have served have sacrificed.”
The half-hour ceremony included a salute to the groups represented at the ceremony by displaying corresponding wreaths depicting the various services and organizations. Andy Campbell of Maryland’s Youth Pipe Band played the bagpipes during the wreath-laying, which was led by Randy Phillipp, commander of the American Legion post.
Some of the groups honored included Disabled American Veterans, Pearl Harbor Survivors, Vietnam Veterans of America, United States Submarine Veterans and Daughters of the American Revolution.
The attendees represented this country’s military branches and those who served from World War II to the present.