Honoring S.Y.C. Veterans
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
People across the country reflected on the service of veterans and active military members on Friday, November 11, Veteran’s Day.
Veteran’s Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was proclaimed a national holiday on November 11, 1918 after the end of World War I. The war officially ended on June 28, 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, but fighting between Germany and the Allied Forces had already ceased months prior.
On November 11, 1918 an armistice, or a truce, went into effect, and after that date, Armistice Day was celebrated every year. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name to Veteran’s Day in order to honor veterans who served in all American wars, not just those who served in World War I.
In Southern York County, there are several veterans who took this day to reflect on their service to our country, including math teacher Ryan Leiphart. Leiphart has served in the United States Coast Guard for nineteen years and served five years active duty.
“[I decided to serve in the military because] I wanted to do something to help other people and I just happened to see a flyer about the Coast Guard, and I thought it would be a great thing to do, go save lives,” said Leiphart.
Doctor David Rivers, who is a biology professor at Loyola University Maryland, served in the Army National Guard for nine years, and although he was never called to war, he recalls his experience with basic training.
“They sent us towards the end [of basic training] through the gas chamber. My group was the first group in…and the drill sergeant is standing in there with tear gas. We had our masks on, and they told you to take them off, and the first thing that happened was your face tightened up, and you started coughing, tears started pouring, snot started pouring out,” said Rivers. “They said we had to go down the line and told each one of us we had to say our name, rank, and serial number, and nobody could leave until every last one of us did. They got through two people, and the guy on the end took off and ran out, and they told us we can’t leave until he comes back. They sent someone out to get him, and they never came back. They kept us in there for about five minutes, when it was only supposed to be thirty seconds. As soon as we walked out the door, everybody fell over and started throwing up, and there was another sergeant waiting there, screaming at us and made us do push-ups as soon as we came out. They wanted your pores to open up so all that gas would go in and so you’d be even worse. I’ll never forget that.”
English teacher Heath Hallman served in the Air Force for ten years and took part in the first Gulf War, which lasted from August 2, 1990 to February 28, 1991.
“I was in the service during the first Gulf War. I never went overseas. The first part of that conflict, I was actually stationed at the National Security Agency, the N.S.A., where I was a computer operator, and then I cross trained and I became a crew chief, which is an airplane mechanic on C-141 Starlifters. Those are the planes that the army rangers jump
out of,” said Hallman. “I was stationed in Charleston during that time, so my plane would go pick up the army, take them over, drop them off, and then come back, and then I would repair the airplane.”
Veteran’s Day is an important day for every citizen of the United States, but according to Rivers, it has a special meaning for veterans who have fought for the freedoms we have.
“I appreciate what other veterans have done so that we actually have a country and have the freedoms we have, including being able to vote for whatever candidate we wanted to vote for in the last election. You can’t do that in most countries, so every time we celebrate Veteran’s Day, I’m thrilled to be in the presence of people who actually fought in the wars,” said Rivers.
The service of Veterans will never be forgotten. Citizens everywhere are thankful for the people who fight every day for their freedoms, and November 11 will forever be a day to honor these men and women.