Dayton (November 14, 2023): Despite the chilly weather, a large number of Americans gathered at Veterans Memorial Park in Beavercreek, Ohio, USA, for Veterans Day, expressing gratitude and paying homage to the dedicated individuals who have served in various branches of the US Armed Forces.
Beavercreek Mayor Bob Stone, a former member of the US Armed Forces, extended heartfelt thanks to the Veterans. On this occasion, Air Force personnel hoisted the American flag and performed the national anthem. The event featured Colonel Adam B. Willis as the guest speaker, who commands the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.
Veterans Day is celebrated every year to commemorate the bravery of those who died in the service of the country in wars. This day was first started as a tribute to the soldiers who died in the First World War which ended on November 11.
Participating in this ceremony were members of the Sikh community, including Dr. Darshan Singh Sehbi, Piara Singh Sembhi, Dr. Charanjit Singh Gumtala, the Patron of Amritsar Vikas Manch, along with his son Sameep Singh Gumtala and granddaughter Meher Kaur. They joined in expressing gratitude to those who have served in the US defense forces.
Sikh activity Sameep Singh Gumtala, also the Global Convener of the FlyAmritsar Initiative, shared the insights into the event, mentioning his second consecutive year of participation. He recounted a heartwarming incident from the previous year when an elderly World War II veteran, upon seeing their turbans, greeted them with joy, embraced them and inquired, “Are you Sikh?” The veteran, expressing admiration for the bravery for Sikh during the Second World War, joyfully took pictures with them and share fond memories.
Members of the Sikh community also met with military officers from Dayton’s Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Commissioner Rick Perales, Beavercreek Mayor Bob Stone, and newly elected Mayor Don Adams. Expressing gratitude for Sikh soldiers currently serving in the US Army, the Sikh community members acknowledged the strides made since 2009 when Dr. Tejdeep Singh Rattan and Dr. Kamaldeep Singh Kalsi received special accommodation to serve in the US Army while maintaining their turbans and beards. Born in Amritsar, Punjab in India and now serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Dr. Ratan studied from the Wright State University in Dayton. Since then, the army changed some of its regulations, paving the way for a significant number of turban-wearing soldiers in the US Army.
Gumtala emphasized the importance of Sikh participation in such American events, underscoring the respect Sikh receive due to the historical bravery and sacrifices of countless Sikhs, including those who in the World Wars. He highlighted the enduring commitment of Sikh Gurus and the broader Sikh community to principles of religious freedom and justice for all.