By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Stacy D. Laseter
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (NNS) -- Seventy-three years after the Battle of Midway, hundreds of guests honored veterans at the Battle of Midway Memorial Dinner held at the World Golf Village Renaissance Resort in St. Augustine, Florida, June 13.
The Battle of Midway, is regarded as one of the most important naval battles in U.S. history and was fought six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The dinner, sponsored by the U.S. Navy League, was planned as a way to pay tribute to veterans who fought so heroically at the Battle of Midway. According to Navy League Region President John Vargo, the event is for current and former military members.
"It's to honor Midway vets and celebrate their accomplishments," Vargo said. "Midway was a key accomplishment in the Navy's history; it was the event that put the United States Navy on the map as a naval superpower in 1942. The memorial dinner is for all Sailors, to make them proud of themselves and their country."
The guest speaker for the 18th annual event was Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, Commander, United States Southern Command. He spoke of the importance of not only paying tribute to the battle, but the men who fought it.
"We are really here not just to remember that battle," Kelly said, "but we are gathered here to remember the incredible courage of the men who faced an incredible enemy. We are gathered here not just to honor a turning point in the Second World War, but to remember the bravery of the men who didn't blink in the face of adversity."
Additional highlights of the evening were a special full-service color guard presentation by members of all six services that included a tribute to the POW/MIA table.
Gen. Kelly administered the oath of enlistment to 10 new Marine Corps recruits, and the evening also included readings of Robert Ingram's Medal of Honor citation, as well as short biographies of the Midway veterans and former prisoners of war in attendance.
A reading of "Old Glory" was followed by special recognition of the Wounded Warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan who were in attendance. The whole audience gave several standing ovations, and the event finished with the 654-person audience singing Lee Greenwood's song "God Bless the USA."