PLATTSBURGH — When Col. Michael Barcomb was commissioned in the Army in 1987, he became part of an American minority.
“Roughly 1 percent of our population serves in the military,” he told the crowd gathered Monday at American Legion Post 20 in Plattsburgh to observe Veterans Day.
And yet the impact of that minority, who have traveled the globe defending freedom and democracy, Barcomb noted, is far from minor.
“I am reminded of the words of Winston Churchill: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,’” he said.
CELEBRATE THE CHOICE
Barcomb was born and raised in Mooers and is the recipient of numerous awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
He served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker, reminding attendees of the importance of Veterans Day.
“Unlike Memorial Day, it is the day that we recognize not just those that have given their lives in war but those that have worn the uniform, serving in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and the Coast Guard,” he said.
Above all, Barcomb continued, it is an opportunity to celebrate the choice they made to serve their country.
“For some, it meant the worldwide conflict of World War II, or a lifetime of peacekeeping missions or a tense standoff for a Cold War,” he said. “Others found themselves in the jungles of Vietnam or in Korea, Panama or other conflicts ... for many, service has meant multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.”
And for reservists and National Guard members, Barcomb added, it has meant giving up civilian jobs to report to duty.
“These service members are our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters, some of whom are wounded warriors or have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” he said.