TROY — Serving as a combat medic from 2000-2006, Tristan Weis shared the sacrifice veterans have made throughout their service to the country at the city of Troy’s annual Veterans Day service at Riverside Cemetery on Friday.
The Miami Valley Veterans Museum board president since January 2016, Weis, a combat medic in the U.S. Army, was the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
Weis said the U.S. Army’s values can all explain what it means to be a veteran: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless-service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
“All of these traits epitomize what it means to be a veteran to me,” Weis said. “To me, being a veteran means selflessly defending the freedoms and rights of all Americans. It means you decided the welfare and freedoms of friends, families, and strangers is worth giving your life for more than anything.”
Weis said his military service was for “every American” not just those he knew.
Weis encouraged those in attendance to thank a veteran for their service, “not just today, but everyday, whether they are a combat veteran or a National Guardsman fresh out of basic training.”
“Being in the military is a team effort and 100 percent volunteered effort,” Weis said.
Weis shared a variety of ways community members and civilians can help veterans throughout the year.
Weis also encouraged the crowd to support families left behind by those who are serving.
“By showing your support to military families, you can help alleviate challenges,” Weis said.
He also encouraged those in attendance to volunteer at local VA hospitals, visit veterans at nursing homes, write a thank you note to a veteran and even volunteer at the Miami Valley Veterans Museum located in Troy.
Weis shared what being a veteran means to him, how the community can help veterans and what Veterans Day is all about.
“To me, being a veteran means knowing you have perpetuated and honored all of the men and women who served before you,” Weis said.
Weis spoke of the scars — both seen and unseen — of the wounds veterans suffer throughout their service.
“Veterans write blank checks that are payable to our country for everything up to their life at some point,” Weis said. “For those of you who have never been in the armed forces, think about that. Every veteran in attendance today has risked everything they have to defend your freedom. Many of those blank checks have been cashed in full, while others’ payment is left in permanent scars. Those scars are a symbol of the sacrifices veterans have made for us.”
Ron Pennybacker of VFW Post No. 5436 gave the opening marks and introductions, which included recognizing Mayor Michael Beamish and members of council who were present. Robert Speck gave the invocation at the ceremony.
The Troy High School Band performed service hymns prior to the Veterans Memorial Honor Guard’s 21-gun salute, which was followed by Troy High School band members Abby Smith and Brian Cartwright performing “Taps.”