Veterans Day has many meanings. For some it is a time to honor and thank a loved one or friend who served. For others, it is a time of camaraderie and parades to celebrate the freedom veterans have provided through their sacrifices and service. Veterans Day especially invokes moments of great sadness, admiration and reflection as we honor the many generations of fallen heroes, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. In keeping with the tradition of honoring veterans,Penske Truck Leasing representatives today participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at The Arlington National Cemetery along with its charity partners from the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
For Roy Bates, a 43-year Penske associate (pictured at right holding the wreath), Veterans Day is personal and it has a special meaning. Bates is a Vietnam War veteran. He served from 1970-71 as a Sergeant E-5. He was recently selected to help represent the Penske organization by taking part in the wreath-laying ceremony.
Bates, who is a maintenance supervisor in Penske Truck Leasing’s Reading, Pennsylvania district office, is very active in the veteran community. He has participated in Shriners Legion of Honor events for over 16 years but has never until today personally put a wreath on a tomb. Bates was also instrumental in founding the Berks County Vietnam Veterans of America organization and in raising funds for the construction of the Berks County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the 1980s.
“Words cannot really express how honored I am to participate in this wreath-laying,” said Bates. “To me, it is the ultimate honor to lay a wreath on a tomb. I am especially grateful that the Penske organization asked me to attend. This means an awful lot to me, having worked here for so many years.”
Commenting on the day’s events, Art Vallely, executive vice president of operations for Penske Truck Leasing, said, “We are honored to participate in today’s Veterans Day remembrances at Arlington and we’re pleased Roy and his wife, Eileen, could join us in paying tribute to all of the fallen heroes. We thank our many veteran associates, as well as our active-duty and reserve associates and their families for their service and sacrifices.”
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day is a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Thank you, veterans, one and all.
By Randy Ryerson