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PHOTO CAPTION:  Veterans living in William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple, Texas, make their way through the receiving line composed of senior leaders and their spouses of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) during the home's Veterans Day Ball on Nov. 11. Soldiers from the 13th SC(E) and 4th Sustainment Brigade spent the morning assisting the center to celebrate Veterans Day.

November 12, 2013
By Capt. Monika Comeaux

TEMPLE, Texas - Soldiers from the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and 4th Sustainment Brigade spent Veterans Day with the veterans living at the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple, Texas.

During the morning, the soldiers assisted with a ceremony commemorating Veterans Day with a color guard, guest speaker and small equipment display; in the evening they participated in a ball.

Col. Matt G. Melvin, the chief of operations from the 13th SC(E) was the guest speaker of the morning ceremony. He thanked the veterans for their service and charged them to pass on their experiences to others.

"Today for Veterans Day, I came out and gave a speech where I tried to recognize all the American veterans and the importance of their story," said Melvin. "It's about asking them to share those stories and experiences with today's soldiers and youth. We, veterans like to be humble and don't like to tell our stories and I was prodding them to share them."

"Their history paved the way for guys like me," Melvin continued. "I don't want to read about them in history books." He said it means the world to him to visit with veterans, listen to them and see their emotions reflect in their eyes. "It's why I serve today, because of people like them."

Wilson R. Easter, World War II veteran with the 3rd Infantry Division, and resident of the home, was able to browse modern Army equipment, getting a close-up look at an Interceptor Body Armor and a ballistic Kevlar helmet. "I wish we had some of this gear 70 years ago when I was in. We didn't have anything near as high quality as this," Easter said.

"It means a lot to me that these young soldiers come out here," he continued. "It means a lot to know that they share our stories and experiences together."

The soldiers participating in the event made sure that they spent time with all veterans at the home, regardless of which part of the facility they were housed in. Blue Army Service Uniforms spotted the dining area and activity areas, sharing stories, dinner, cupcakes and smiles with the residents of the home.

"I think these veterans have a lot of wisdom - a lot of experience. To be able to listen and learn from them, regardless if they were a soldier in World War II or a general in Vietnam, they have a lot of information and experiences that we can all learn from," said Melvin.