The city of Troy hosted a recognition of Veterans Day at City Hall’s Veterans Plaza Nov. 11.

The city of Troy hosted a recognition of Veterans Day at City Hall’s Veterans Plaza Nov. 11.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Troy recognizes Veterans Day

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published November 18, 2021

 A ceremonial wreath was laid in remembrance of those who fell in service to the United States.

A ceremonial wreath was laid in remembrance of those who fell in service to the United States.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


TROY — The city of Troy hosted a recognition of Veterans Day Nov. 11 at Troy City Hall in Veterans Plaza, along Big Beaver Road.

City officials and veterans gathered to remember those who have served in the armed forces of the United States and to express their appreciation for the sacrifices they made.

“It’s a time honored tradition here in the city of Troy to honor our veterans and have a Veterans Day ceremony here in Veterans Plaza outside of City Hall,” said Troy Mayor Ethan Baker. “We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. We had some great speakers and a great group of attendees, and we’re always excited to have the Heritage Band here to celebrate our vets.”

A ceremonial wreath was laid in remembrance of the fallen, the United States Space Force Flag was raised for the first time alongside the flags of the other branches of the military, and a rifle salute was performed in honor of those who served.

A tribute to fallen comrades was led by former Troy police officer and Vietnam War infantry Cap. Mike Kerr.

“I had three men killed on Nov. 11, 1968, who I singled out today, but I also want to mention that ... my mentor, Jerry Proctor Laird, (was) killed Jan. 22, 1969, and his radio/telephone operator, Douglas Ross, was missing in action from Jan. 22, 1969, until 1998, when his remains were finally returned to his parents,” Kerr said. “We will not forget them, and we will not forget their families.”

Kerr added that he was pleased with the ceremony and hopes that members of the public will not only honor veterans but consider joining up themselves, if they are able.

“I thought the ceremony was just fine,” he said. “We covered all aspects, and it’s true that the military and law enforcement play a good part in making the community a safe place both on duty and off. I think this is a day to honor those who put service before self.”

The keynote speaker was Lt. Col. Russel Harden of the U.S. Army, who also currently serves as a lieutenant in the Troy Police Department.

“I wanted to talk to people today about service to country and how service doesn’t stop when you take off the uniform,” said Harden. “It’s not just the veterans who need to serve, but we all have an obligation to serve our great nation.”

Harden went on to say that he believes it is more important than ever to show appreciation to veterans.

“It’s an honor for me to serve both as a member of the military and as a member of the Troy Police Department,” he said. “There’s been a time where some things occurred, but it has affected veterans and police not so positively, and I won’t go into specifics, but I think it’s important to recognize what they deal with.”

He also encouraged the public to get involved and show their appreciation for veterans through their words and also through their actions.

“Get involved. Most every town has a (Veterans of Foreign Wars) or American Legion chapter. There are lots of VA hospitals, so people can go out and volunteer. Do what you can,” Harden said. “People can donate monetarily to programs such as the Wounded Warrior project. Probably the biggest thing is, on Veterans Day, fly a yellow ribbon, show your support. It goes a long way.”

The uniting factor of the speakers at the Troy ceremony was their enthusiasm to show appreciation to veterans and thank them for their service.

“I think it’s important that we honor and remember our vets on Veterans Day, but we need to do that every single day,” Baker remarked. “Always thank a vet when you see them and recognize them for allowing us to have the freedoms we all use every single day without realizing it.”

Harden said that he wants people to see how veterans like himself view the military and that it can offer opportunities and experiences that are unavailable by any other means.

“The military is a must,” he remarked. “If we’re going to have an all-volunteer force, then we need volunteers. I would hate to see the day when people have to be conscripted to defend this great nation. If we have people who are willing to volunteer, be educated and know what it is and what it isn’t, it is truly a great way of life.”