DOBBINS HEIGHTS — Caps signifying military service punctuated the small crowd of the Dobbins Heights Community Center on Friday for the town’s annual Veterans Day service.
The event, traditionally held outside the building near the flagpole, was moved inside due to minor construction and cool temps.
It was a homecoming, of sorts, for the guest speaker: retired Master Sgt. Pam Davis.
A classmate of Mayor Antonio Blue and graduate of Richmond Senior High School, Davis joined the U.S. Army in 1983. She went through basic training at Fort McClellan in Alabama, then continued her training at Fort Jackson.
During her 23 years of service, Davis was stationed in Germany, Hawaii, South Korea, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Bragg. Since retirement, she has spent time in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan as a government contractor.
She defined a veteran as someone who “wrote a blank check” to the country up to, and including, their own life. Veterans Day, she said, is a time to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who wrote that check.
During her speech, Davis gave the history of Veterans Day, with Nov. 11 originally being recognized as Armistice Day to celebrate the end to World War I.
She also took a break from her prepared speech to talk about what serving means to those who do it — how they fight for what they left behind — and the toll of those who survive the horrors of war, saying some “might not come back all there.”
“I have seen a lot of things…I had a lot of close calls,” she said, adding that her family doesn’t know everything she went through — and she won’t tell them.
Appreciation of veterans, Davis said, should be shown every day; not just for those who do the fighting, but all who serve.
“Those who never served will never fully understand the sacrifices made…or the depth of our scars,” she said. “By being a veteran, the five words that mean so much to me are: ‘Thank you for your service.’”
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.