Royal Oak resident 1st Sgt. David Wandoff, of the 342nd Military Police Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit based in Columbus, Ohio, speaks during the Royal Oak Veterans Day ceremony.

Royal Oak resident 1st Sgt. David Wandoff, of the 342nd Military Police Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit based in Columbus, Ohio, speaks during the Royal Oak Veterans Day ceremony.

Photo provided by Judy Davids


Royal Oak honors veterans with ceremony

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published November 22, 2021

 The audience listens to the speakers at the Veterans Day event at the new Royal Oak City Hall Nov. 11.

The audience listens to the speakers at the Veterans Day event at the new Royal Oak City Hall Nov. 11.

Photo provided by Judy Davids

Advertisement

ROYAL OAK — At 11 a.m. Nov. 11, the Royal Oak Veterans Event Committee hosted its annual Veterans Day ceremony to honor all U.S. and Canadian military veterans at the new City Hall building, 203 S. Troy St.

The event featured guest speaker and Royal Oak resident 1st Sgt. David Wandoff, of the 342nd Military Police Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit based in Columbus, Ohio.

It also included performances by the Royal Oak High School band and the St. Paul Lutheran Church children’s choir, the folding of the flag by the Royal Oak Police Honor Guard, “Amazing Grace” performed on bagpipes by Donald Sutherland, the laying of wreaths, a rifle salute by American Legion Post 253, and the playing of taps.

Wandoff, who served for almost 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, was deployed in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.

“To all of us that have served overseas, on the seas, under the seas, in the air or in the continental United States, I’m proud to call you all my brothers and sisters,” Wandoff said. “Veterans Day represents something different for different people. For me, Veterans Day has kind of been almost like my birthday.

“It’s a day of celebration. It’s a time of reflection. It’s a time to look back on everything I accomplished as a soldier, a time to reflect fondly on the people I have met and the places I have been,” he continued. “It’s a time for me to be thankful for having survived and having still been of good health and a relatively sane mind.”

He added that he was proud of his service to the U.S. Army and the nation; respectful of the physical and mental sacrifice of his fellow soldiers; and grateful for the sacrifice of veterans’ family members and support systems.

“It isn’t just about veterans; it’s about all of you that also support us,” Wandoff said. “Without you, there could be no me serving. It would be absolutely impossible.”

He also touched on the importance of seeking help for any kind of mental illness, especially post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Seek help. It took me way, way too long to (talk to somebody),” he said. “I’m very, very happy that I did, and I like to think that it has made my life better.”

Help can come in the form of any number of service organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.

“There are many, many resources that can get you the help you need. You served this country and you deserve everything you can get from it,” he said. “I know you can’t see it, but the emotional scars are there, and they’re just as bad as physical ones.”

Mike Sherman, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the U.S. Army, acted as the master of ceremonies. He noted that Nov. 11 also marked the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

After the ceremony, city officials allowed members of the public to pay their respects at the veterans memorial at its new location in Centennial Commons, the new downtown park which is currently under construction and will officially be dedicated Dec. 3.

“Today, just as we should every day, we honor our brave servicemen and women both past and present. We honor them for their contributions for keeping us safe and free,” Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier said. “To our veterans that are here today and to those that aren’t, we are in debt to you and we humbly offer our thanks for your service.”

The John D. Dingell VA Medical Center is open 24/7 and is located at 4646 John R St. in Detroit. For more information, call (313) 576-1000 or visit va.gov.

Advertisement