Veterans Still Serving America

Captain Toland Gives Memorial Day Address

2009-05-25 11-26-13[JoeEllis]

Loudoun Times-Mirror article covering the Memorial Day ceremony:
http://www.loudountimes.com/blogs/community-faith/2009-05-28/AMERICAN-LE...

Captain Toland Gives Memorial Day Address

33rd Sterling Veterans’ Memorial Day Ceremony

Memorial Day Monday, May 25 2009

American Legion Post 150

Sterling Veterans' Memorial

Sterling, Virginia

American Legion Post 150 held its 33rd Veterans’ Day Memorial Ceremony at the Sterling Veterans’ Memorial site on Sterling Boulevard on a warm and slightly overcast Monday, May 25 at 11 AM. Approximately 150 Sterling residents were in attendance.

Commander Kuo Welcomes Sterling Community - photo Joe Ellis

Keynote Address by Captain Jonathan Toland:

"I want to thank Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, Commander Ann Kuo and the ladies and gentlemen of American Legion Post 150, the scouts from troop 956 and everyone for coming out today. I must admit that throughout my time in the National Guard, the meaning of my service isn’t something that crosses my mind every day. Being a soldier has become as much a part of who I am as the fact that I like chocolate ice cream or that I enjoy doing home improvement projects. Despite the increasing demands on my time and family and the difficulty balancing a civilian career and a “part-time” military career, I’ve been surrounded by great soldiers and had some pretty neat experiences.

Having spent my entire military career in the National Guard, it has given me a unique perspective on the term “Citizen Soldier.” I’m not completely a fan of that term, because all soldiers, active and reserve, are citizens, but it does call out the fact that soldiers who have chosen to serve in the National Guard and Reserves face additional challenges. And as my fiancé will attest to, it’s much more accurate than other terms such as “part-time soldier.” Whether it’s spending countless hours between drills dealing with e-mails and planning for training events, taking time from work to attend the same courses that active duty soldiers attend, or getting called to active duty early to prepare for a lengthy deployment, our service impacts family, friends, employers and our communities. Our families are hit especially hard because they don’t have the benefit of the natural support structure that you would find at a military base. When soldiers come from a 100 mile radius to attend a drill, it’s not easy for Family Support Groups to meet regularly to provide help to one another. But what we’ve found is that our employers and communities go to great lengths to help make up for these shortcomings. Whether it’s a boss that doesn’t blink when his employee tells him he’s deploying to Afghanistan after just one week on the job, or a Boy Scout troop that puts together care packages for soldiers in Iraq that they’ve never met, we may never be able to fully communicate how greatly we appreciate your support.

Now I’m lucky enough to be speaking to a crowd that is filled with people who understand better than most the difficulties of military service, so what I am about to say shouldn’t be any surprise. A career in the military has rarely been the most attractive choice; it’s long hours, in less that desirable locations, with not the greatest pay. Multiple deployments result in hidden costs for soldiers and family members. Even National Guardsmen had to long ago stop using the old phrase “one weekend a month, two weeks a year." If you were to ask me, “Why did you choose to serve?” It boils down to a simple love for my country and its citizens. But it’s more complicated than that, as any of the veterans here will tell you. I guess growing up in a military family, with a father who spent 17 years in the Air Force, primed me for military service. The lure of adventure, a chance to challenge myself and little bit of money to help pay for college didn’t hurt either. But it’s also that despite the challenges, I proudly serve with people who represent the best and brightest that our country has to offer. Whether they signed up for a four year stint to help pay for college, or they served in a career that spanned three decades, current and former service members go on to be some of the greatest contributors to our society. No matter how much the world changes, the military continues to turn out citizens who understand the true meanings of leadership, self-less service, teamwork and commitment to something greater than oneself.

We are very fortunate to live in a country where our freedom and security are guaranteed by a military that represents less than 1% of our population and costs us around 5% of our total economy. Military service isn’t for everyone, but with fewer than 25 million veterans alive today and a war that is nearing 8 years in duration, there is a burden on those who have answered other callings to do their part to ensure that those who serve in uniform are never forgotten.

In closing, we are here today in remembrance of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. It’s all too easy to treat Memorial Day as the first 3-day weekend of the summer vacation season, a great day to fire up the grill, or a long awaited day at the beach, all things I have been guilty of in the past. But the simple act of your being here, taking time to attend this service, shows that this day is about more, and for this you have my gratitude. There have been 464 members of the Army National Guard who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. As always, the numbers mean far less than the names and faces behind them, so I want to call special attention to the “Citizen Soldiers” of Virginia [who have lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan]:

SGT Bobby Beasley, SSG Craig Cherry, PFC Kyle Hemauer, SGT Jesse Ault, SPC Derek Banks, SSG Daryl Booker, COL Paul Kelly, SGT David Lambert, SGT Nicholas Mason, and SGT David Ruhren."

Captain Jonathan Toland Provides Memorial Day Keynote Address - photo Toland Family

Note: Captain Toland enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard in 1998 as a 96B Intelligence Specialist and attended Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC. He served with HHC/1-116 IN in Roanoke, VA where he was promoted to SPC. In 2002, CPT Toland completed accelerated Virginia OCS and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Upon graduation from the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning, GA he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader with B/1-116 IN in Christiansburg, VA. He then volunteered to deploy with his company, A/1-116 IN (reflagged for the deployment as C/3-116 IN) to Afghanistan 2004-2005. Upon redeployment, he served as Company XO of A/1-116 IN in Bedford, VA.

In 2007-2008, he deployed with A/3-116 IN to Taqaddum, Iraq where he served as Rifle Platoon Leader and Operations Officer. He was then promoted to Captain and now serves in Winchester, VA as the 3-116 IN Battalion Logistics Officer. Captain Toland is a graduate of Virginia Tech and holds a degree in psychology. He is a resident of Sterling, VA.

Big Crowd Attended Sterling Memorial Day Ceremony - photo Joe Ellis

PROGRAM

Welcome Commander Ann Kuo,

American Legion Post 150

Post Invocation Pastor Roseann Harwood,

Church of the Brethren

Star Spangled Banner Sterling United Methodist Choir

Pledge of Allegiance Boy Scout Troop 956

Remarks Commander Ann Kuo

Keynote Address Captain Jonathan Toland

116th Infantry Brigade Combat

Presentation of Wreath Boy Scout Troop 956

Rifle Salute American Legion Post 150 and

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post

9478

Taps Paul Rosenthal and Chris O’Dell

Raising the Colors Boy Scout Troop 956

Heritage Medley Sterling United Methodist Choir

America the Beautiful Sterling United Methodist Choir

Benediction Pastor Roseann Harwood

SPECIAL THANKS

The members of Post 150 extend thanks to the following individuals and organizations for their participation in this ceremony:

Pastor Roseann Harwood, Dranesville Church of the Brethren

Sterling United Methodist Church Choir

Boy Scout Troop 956

Commander Bill Atkinson, Jr. and Veterans' of Foreign Wars Post 9478

Marc Karter, President, Easy Living Irrigation, Inc. (Sprinklers)

William A. Hazel Construction Company (Mulch)

Robert Mock, President, Melodee Music (Sound System)

Sterling Ruritan Club (Wreath, Ground Flowers & Chairs)

Comrade Ed Linek and Mr. Adron Miller (Memorial Maintenance)

Dranesville Church of the Brethren (Memorial Day Program Printing)

If you are eligible and would like to consider a membership in the American Legion, please feel free to attend one of the meetings, or call one of the Post 150 Officers listed below. American Legion Post 150 meets on the first Wednesday of each month at the Sterling Ruritan Clubhouse. We are on the Internet! Please visit us at: www.alpost150.org.

Commander - Ann Kuo @ 703-444-9255

Service Officer - Hugh Bruckschen @ 703-450-4643

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