Some placed their hand over their heart while others saluted the American Flag, but the voices of World War II veterans rose in unison Wednesday morning during the singing of the “National Anthem” at the Silver Spring Civic Building.
Montgomery County Council hosted “Montgomery County Honors WWII Veterans” Sept. 19, a day to celebrate the lives, sacrifices and honor of the war’s veterans. Council President Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Potomac and County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) presented a proclamation at the event in front of a crowd of about 500 people, thanking the veterans for their service.
“We honor you today but there could be no single day, no single month, no single occasion in which we can say enough thank you’s,” Leggett said. “We honor you today because it is long, long overdue and we need to do that as much as we can.”
U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington, Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) of and Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring were among the key speakers for the event, and Ted Koppel, who hosted ABC News show Nightline for 25 years, was the master of ceremonies.
“To all our veterans, I want to join with my colleagues in offering a heartfelt and very simple thank you,” Van Hollen said. “Thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for your courage and thank you for the example you have set for the other generations.”
Each speaker thanked the veterans for their sacrifice and service and recounted personal stories of family and friends or veterans they had a chance to meet. A few veterans were also among those who addressed the crowd and shared their stories of the war as a way to connect and educate younger generations.
Boris Osheroff, 90, was a pharmacist who was assigned to the Manhattan Project from 1943 to 1946 in the Army and was also among the veterans who spoke at the event.
“I don’t know whether in the long run we have done mankind a service or a disservice in developing the atomic bomb. But I do know this: We have, with that bomb, saved many of my compatriots here who the only thing they were guilty of was uncommon valor,” Osheroff said. “That is the valor thats demonstrated when a guy is willing to lay down his life and limb to protect his country and they are certainly guilty of that.”
Also, Silver Spring resident Albert Frumkin, of the U.S. Army 106th Infantry Division from 1943 to 1945 — who was a prisoner of war during the Battle of the Bulge, spoke at the event. Demetri Paris of the Army’s 14th tank Battalion and 9th Armored Division from 1942 to 1946 were also honored at the event.
“One of the things that marks the Greatest Generation is when I ask our veterans of WWII whether our nation is keeping faith, whether we’ve met our commitments to the Greatest Generation, they never answer for themselves,” Van Hollen said. “I want to thank you for your courage and your patriotism, and I want to thank you most of all for the enduring example that you have set for generations that come after you.”