The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center held a Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 10th on the upper Presidio of Monterey with military personnel, veterans, faculty, staff and students in attendance.
“I’d like to start today by thanking all those among us who, despite the risk and sacrifice, served and continue to serve our nation with honor and distinction,” remarked DLIFLC Commandant Col. James A. Kievit.
The ceremony was held in DLIFLC’s central courtyard, overlooking the Berlin Wall memorial, featuring three individual partitions of the wall that once divided East and West Berlin. Guests included local community leaders, service commanders representing the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. Also in attendance were about 20 students from the Carmel River Elementary School.
“Every society requires warriors to defend its version of civilization. As the Yale University Historian Timothy Snyder wrote, ‘If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die under tyranny,’” stated guest speaker, retired Col. Kevin Rice, referring to the reasons why Veterans serve.
Rice presented some statistics about Veterans to the audience. “About 7 % of the adult population are Veterans. About one in eight men are Veterans. Roughly one in 100 women are Veterans, but so what?” he questioned.
“Let’s consider the human element of our Veterans.” Quoting senator John McCain, Rice said, “Friendship, sacrifice, and romance are what those who serve honorably in our Armed Forces feel for one another. Serving a cause greater than yourself. No man is an island within himself, ask not for whom the Bell Tolls.”
During Rice’s tenure as commandant from 2000 to 2003, September/11 took place.
“Thanks to him [Rice] and his extraordinary management capabilities, DLI was able – within three months — to produce training materials for the War on Terror in multiple languages,” explained Kievit. “His team created predeployment materials and piloted laptops and smart boards in the classrooms, paving the way for what we have today …an agile and innovative organization.”
The event concluded with the commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Ernesto Cruz, and the guest speaker presenting a wreath in honor of all Veterans.
DLIFLC provides resident instruction in 14 languages at the Presidio of Monterey, California, with the capacity to instruct another 65 languages in Washington, D.C. The Institute has graduated more than 230,000 linguists since 1941.
In addition, multiple language training detachments exists at sites in the U.S., Europe, Hawaii and Korea, spanning all the U.S. geographic combatant commands in support of the total force.