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Home | Tag Archives: fort bliss national cemetery

Tag Archives: fort bliss national cemetery

Ft. Bliss National Cemetery hosts “Tribute to the Fallen and their Families” Plaque Dedication Ceremony

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), National Cemetery Administration (NCA), and ‘Carry The Load’ relay teams will hold a Plaque Dedication Ceremony to honor the fallen and their families at Fort Bliss National Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon.

Carry The Load teams have run across the country to provide active ways to connect Americans to the sacrifices made by military service members and their families.

Upon arrival at Fort Bliss National Cemetery, NCA will dedicate the “Tribute to the Fallen and their Families” plaque.

The relay teams started marching April 25, and will finish May 26, 2019.  Via three routes, the teams have covered more than 11,500 miles, traveled through 40 states and visited 26 VA national cemeteries.

Following the 30-minute dedication ceremony, Carry The Load participants will continue their journey to the next destination.

All three routes will converge on Dallas, Texas, on Sunday, May 26.

WHEN: May 15, 2019 at 3:45 p.m.
WHERE: Fort Bliss National Cemetery Public Information Center Building

Fort Bliss National Cemetery to honor Vietnam War Veterans, Unaccompanied Veterans Laid to Rest in Two Upcoming Ceremonies

Fort Bliss National Cemetery will be hosting two very important ceremonies in the next two weeks, and officials are inviting the community to take part.

First, on Thursday, March 28th, a ceremony will be held to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA), for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States.

The event will commemorate Vietnam War Veterans, POW MIA Dissertation also to include a pinning ceremony for all Vietnam War Veterans in attendance.  For more information on the lapel pins, click here.

Fort Bliss National Cemetery will take a moment during the ceremony to perform the POW/MIA Dissertation which will honor the service, sacrifice, and enduring achievements of the veterans.

Then, on Thursday, April 4th, officials will hold a memorial service for Veterans who were previously laid to rest January through March 2019 without honors or with no family in attendance.

These Veterans, referred to as Unaccompanied Veterans, are former service members whose next of kin is unknown or loved ones cannot attend their service.

Many times, burial arrangements have been made by a public administrator, a VA medical center, or some other authorized entity.

“Every Veteran with honorable service has earned the right to be interred in a national cemetery and has paid the price by their service to this great nation,” said James Porter, Fort Bliss National Cemetery director. “We encourage the community to join us as we pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed for our nation. It simply is the right thing for us to do.”

Open to the public, the memorial service includes military funeral honors and a roll call, where the names of each Veteran, his or her rank, and the branch of service are solemnly read. This is followed by the playing of “Taps” and the presentation of a folded American flag.

“No Veteran is buried alone,” said Porter. “Fort Bliss National Cemetery staff is present at every single burial and committal service. We become their family in that moment and ensure each service member who passes through our gates receives the proper tribute.”

On April 4, the community is invited to pay respects to over 10 Veterans. These veterans have served their country spanning from World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War on through serving through peacetime.

Many of these warriors have distinguished careers and medals to include one of them received the Purple heart for their service to our country.

Following the unaccompanied burial service, El Paso VA Health Care System Director Michael Amaral will honor recently passed Veterans with a Last Roll Call and Remembrance Ceremony.

These ceremonies would not be possible without the help of The El Paso Marine Honors Unit, The El Paso Patriot Guard, Veteran Service Organizations, and local government partners.

“Sometimes we’re closer to other Veterans than we are with our own family,” said Bob Way, SgtMaj USMC Retired, El Paso Marine Honors Unit and Cemetery Support Committee Chairman.

“Sometimes, our families aren’t there to enjoy those memories and blessings with us so we rely on our brothers and sisters in arms.”

***

Fort Bliss National Cemetery to Honor Vietnam Veterans

WHAT: A Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony to thank and honor Veterans of the Vietnam War.
WHEN: Thursday, March 28, 2019  |  3 p.m.
WHERE: Fort Bliss National Cemetery Rostrum   5200 Fred Wilson Avenue

Ceremony for Unaccompanied Veterans Laid to Rest at Fort Bliss National Cemetery

WHAT: Ceremony for Unaccompanied Veterans
WHEN: Thursday, April 4, 2019  |  2:30 p.m.
WHERE: West Shelter   5200 Fred Wilson Avenue

Holiday Wreaths Honor Veterans at Fort Bliss National Cemetery

Volunteers will place over 5,000 holiday wreaths to honor and remember our nation’s Veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Fort Bliss National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 15.

“This wreath laying ceremonies help us continue the mission of maintaining national cemeteries as national shrines, sacred to the honor and memory of those interred or memorialized here,” said cemetery director Jamie Porter. “It is a great way for the community to come together to pay our respects during the holiday season.”

The Civil Air Patrol, El Paso Composite Squadron arranges the wreath-laying ceremony with assistance from local citizens and other Veterans service organizations as a part of Wreaths Across America.

All 135 VA national cemeteries receive at least seven wreaths, one for each service branch, one for the Merchant Marine and one for Prisoners of War and those Missing In Action (POW/MIA).

This is the 13th year of Wreaths Across America, a nationwide program which distributes holiday wreaths as a tribute to Veterans laid to rest at VA national cemeteries and state Veterans cemeteries. It is also the 27th year that the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, who will take holiday wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery.

Through this program, company president Morrill Worcester seeks to recognize Veterans, active duty military and their families. His goal is to remind the public to remember the Veterans, honor their service, and teach children the value of freedom.

The main gate will close at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 14 and will re-open at 7 a.m. Saturday, December 15 in support of the Wreaths Across America Ceremony held at 10 a.m.

For more information about this event, call the cemetery administration office at 915-564- 0201 or visit the Wreaths Across America Web site.

German, U.S. Soldiers Participate in ‘Volkstrauertag’ Ceremony at Fort Bliss

A lone trumpet player from the 1st Armored Division Band plays the German version of taps.

The somber, mournful notes of “Der Gute Kamerad (The Good Comrade)” sum up the theme of Sunday’s Volkstrauertag, or German Day of Mourning, ceremony at Fort Bliss.

About 200 German and U.S. soldiers and civilian dignitaries gathered at Fort Bliss National Cemetery to observe the German version of Memorial Day.

Fallen soldiers are quietly honored, but the holiday also remembers the victims of war, tyranny, oppression and terrorism.

It is also a call for all nations of the world to work together and make sure that the mistakes of World War II are never repeated, said Lt. Col. Henri Neubert, deputy commander for the German air force’s Air Defense Center at Fort Bliss.

“Be smart, work together and find a way to promote democracy, promote the freedom of the people, so everyone can live together in a peaceful world,” said Neubert during a short interview before the ceremony.

Similar ceremonies were held all over the world Sunday – in big cities and small towns in Germany and anywhere the Germans have a military presence, consulate or embassy.

The main ceremony was held in Berlin at the Reichstag, the home of the German Parliament. French President Emmanuel Macron was the guest speaker.

Macron delivered a powerful message that the leaders after World War II had the strength and courage “to shake hands,” seek reconciliation instead of punishment and created a postwar Europe that has seen more than 70 years of peace.

It’s a message that the nations of the world should remember today and live by, Neubert said.

The Germans have had a military presence at Fort Bliss since 1956, just 11 short years after the end of World War II.

“Who would have thought that the United States of America and Germany could ever become friends after the horrifying events of the first half of the last century?” Neubert said during his speech.

“We – German soldiers and our families – are welcomed and hosted like friends (at Fort Bliss), as if nothing had happened bad,” Neubert said. “We are a great example not only for reconciliation but for forgiveness, confidence, sympathy and friendship.”

“Today, we work and fight together for a better and safer future for our common world,” Neubert said.

The horrors of World War II – including the Holocaust – cannot and must not ever happen again, Neubert added.

“Such things can only happen if you close your eyes to the lessons of history,” he said.

The ceremony included quiet reflective music by the 1st Armored Division’s Ambassador Brass team.Spc. Isidoro Ramos played solo trumpet on “Der Gute Kamerad.”

Dignitaries who were present included: Maj. Gen. Patrick Matlock, the commanding general for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss; Brig. Gen. Laura Yeager, the commanding general for Joint Task Force North; Sgt. Maj. Aaron McDonald, the senior enlisted leader for JTF North; and Lance Lehr, the former 1st Armored Division command sergeant major who is now retired.

Spc. Colin Murray, a tuba player with the 1st Armored Division Band, said it was a “great honor” to play during the ceremony.

Participating in this event shows the close relationship between Fort Bliss and the German contingent at the installation, he added.

**

David Burge is a news producer at ABC-7 in El Paso. He has more than 30 years of experience working for newspapers in California, New Mexico and Texas. Covering the military is a particular passion.

Author – David Burge/Special for the El Paso Herald-Post | Photographer – Steven Cottingham El Paso Herald-Post

 

 

Ft. Bliss National Cemetery to Hold Memorial Service, Last Roll Call Ceremony of Remembrance

To honor of Unaccompanied Veterans laid to rest this Summer, VA’s Fort Bliss National Cemetery will conduct a memorial service on Thursday, October 4 at 2:30 p.m.

The Marine Honor Unit will provide three rifle volleys, the rendering of “Taps,” and the folding and presentation of our Nation’s flag to Ms. Letty West in honor of Unaccompanied Veterans buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery from July through September 2018.

The El Paso VA Health Care System will honor Veterans who passed from July 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018 with the Last Roll Call Ceremony of Remembrance.

Michael L. Amaral, Director of the El Paso VA Health Care System will speak, and Chaplain Linda McKnight will deliver the Remarks of Faith.

What: Memorial Service for Unaccompanied Veterans buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery July through September 2018 & Last Roll                  Call Ceremony of Remembrance
Who: Fort Bliss National Cemetery Staff, Veteran Hospital Administration and local Veteran Support Organizations
When: Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.
Where: Fort Bliss National Cemetery West Shelter  |  5200 Fred Wilson Avenue  |  Fort Bliss

Fort Bliss National Cemetery Named National Shrine

The Department of Veterans Affairs has named Fort Bliss National Cemetery as an Organization of Excellence, a designation that is given to national cemeteries that meet strict department standards.

Fort Bliss National Cemetery met or exceeded the National Shrine Standard in 68 of 74 categories.

The standards comprising the award of “Organization of Excellence” are derived from customer satisfaction surveys appearance of headstones and grounds, daily cleanliness of customer facing facilities, equipment and facility maintenance, and safety of visitors and employees.

The award reads:

“In recognition of superior organizational performance in key areas of importance to the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) and its customers.  The Fort Bliss National Cemetery has demonstrated exemplary performance equal to or exceeding national targets in key management and operational areas.  The cemetery’s performance positively supports NCA’ s key satisfaction drivers of customer service, cemetery service, and access to information. 

As a requirement of recognition, this facility underwent a rigorous independent Organizational Assessment and Improvement review to verify performance levels on March 27 – 29, 2018.  Validation reviews are conducted by a team of NCA subject matter experts, trained in evaluation methods, and led by the NCA Office of Finance and Planning.”

Fort Bliss National Cemetery officials said, [We are] proud to be a recipient of the Organization of Excellence Award as it exemplifies the level of professionalism, teamwork and focus the entire staff here display on a daily basis while providing world class customer service.”

In March, an independent organizational assessment and improvement team evaluated and compared the cemetery’s performance against National Cemetery Administration standards.

Across the 82+ acre site, there are more than 50,000 graves, including one that is the final resting place of the post’s namesake, Lt. Col. William Wallace Smith Bliss.

According to the National Cemetery Administration the following Monuments and Memorials are located within the grounds of the cemetery.

  • On December 7, 1984, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association dedicated a monument to Coast Guard and Navy personnel who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
  • The Military Order of the World Wars dedicated a granite monument in 1986 to officers in military service.
  • The granite American Prisoners of War Monument was installed in 1986 by the American Ex-Prisoners of War of El Paso, Chapter 1.
  • The Military Order of the Purple Heart dedicated a granite-and-bronze monument to all armed forces personnel on October 22, 2002. The bronze plaque is inscribed with the words to Taps.
  • The El Paso Del Norte Chapter, Gold Star Wives of America, dedicated a granite-and-bronze monument on August 28, 2010. It is inscribed, “To Honor, In Loving Memory, Our Husbands and Their Service to Our Great Nation.”
  • The Korean War Veterans Association, Col. Joseph C. Rodriguez (MOH), Chapter 249, donated a granite monument that was dedicated by Ko Chang Sun on June 25, 2016.

For more information on the cemetery, click here.

Gallery+Story: Promotion at Fort Bliss Gravesite Honors Grandfather

Major Patrick Henderson, 236th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel at the gravesite of his grandfather, MAJ Lyle Henderson who served in WWII and is buried at the Ft. Bliss National Cemetery on August, 8, 2018.

Lieutenant Colonel Henderson is currently serving at Ft. Bliss as part of one of the largest exercise in recent history, the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC), with over 4,000 Soldiers training to hone their skills. Henderson felt that everything seemed to align perfectly for his promotion to take place at Ft. Bliss, TX.

“Our Brigade was slotted to go to Idaho for our training exercise and was waiting for my promotions orders at the time,” said Lt. Col. Henderson “but two weeks before we were told we were coming to Ft. Bliss my orders came through. It was almost like my grandfather was winking at me.”

Lt. Col. Henderson comes from a long line of service members.

“My father served 11 years in the Marine Corp and my granddad served 8 years in the army,” said Lt. Col. Henderson “my brother recently retired after serving over 20 years. My nephew is active duty. Then of course my wife and myself have close to 25 years served. It is really in our blood line.”

The sense of service is a deeply rooted believe that has been passed down through the generations of Hendersons.

“My grandfather had the mentality that there are those that serve and those that take and those that serve can serve at any capacity.” said Lt. Col. Henderson “You can serve in the military, your state, your community, your church or the less fortunate. It is our duty as those who serve to help those that take and teach them to serve. That is really the underline theme of the Hendersons.”

Story & Photos by Sgt. Odaliska Almonte  |  North Carolina National Guard / DVIDS

Fort Bliss National Cemetery to Honor Vietnam Veterans Friday

The Department of Veterans Affairs Fort Bliss National Cemetery will honor the service, sacrifice, and enduring achievements of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War in a 50th Anniversary event on Friday.

On March 29, America will observe National Vietnam War Veterans Day. This special day was added to our national holidays when the President signed into law The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017.

On the 30th, at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery Rostrum, local officials will honor El Pasoans who served in Vietnam. The event will commemorate Vietnam War Veterans and include a pinning ceremony to all Vietnam Veterans in attendance.

The lapel pins will be presented in a dignified manner to each Vietnam veteran during the event, and include accompanying remarks to reflect the nation’s thanks for their service and sacrifice.

On their website, Officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs say, “We make no distinction between veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that today there are 7 million living Vietnam veterans and 9 million families of those who served in this time frame.

The Vietnam veteran lapel pin was initially introduced in small numbers in late 2014 with the first pin presented to then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The National Rollout for the Vietnam veteran lapel pins was during the Congressional Ceremony in July 2015.  These pins are now in full production and available to our Commemorative Partners for presentation to eligible Vietnam veterans.

What: A Vietnam War 50th Anniversary commemoration ceremony to thank and honor Veterans of the Vietnam War.

Who: Keynote Speaker: Mr. Issac Camacho

When: March 30, 2018 at 3:00pm

Where: Fort Bliss National Cemetery Rostrum

Annual Holiday Wreath Laying at Fort Bliss National Cemetery Set for Saturday

Volunteers will place over 6,000 holiday wreaths to honor and remember our nation’s Veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Fort Bliss National Cemetery on December 16.

“This wreath laying ceremonies help us continue the mission of maintaining national cemeteries as national shrines, sacred to the honor and memory of those interred or memorialized here,” said cemetery director Jamie Porter. “It is a great way for the community to come together to pay our respects during the holiday season.”

The Civil Air Patrol, El Paso Composite Squadron arranges the wreath-laying ceremony with assistance from local citizens and other Veterans service organizations as a part of Wreaths Across America. All 135 VA national cemeteries receive at least seven wreaths, one for each service branch, one for the Merchant Marine and one for Prisoners of War and those Missing In Action (POW/MIA).

This is the 12th year of Wreaths Across America, a nationwide program which distributes holiday wreaths as a tribute to Veterans laid to rest at VA national cemeteries and state Veterans cemeteries.

It is also the 26th year that the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, who will take holiday wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery.

Through this program, company president Morrill Worcester seeks to recognize Veterans, active duty military and their families. His goal is to remind the public to remember the Veterans, honor their service, and teach children the value of freedom.

The main gate will be closed at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 15 and will re-open at 7 a.m. on Saturday, December 16 in support of the Wreaths Across America Ceremony.

For more information about this event, call the cemetery administration office at 915-564-0201 or visit the Wreaths Across America Web site.

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