East Lansing honors community veterans with wreath laying ceremony
On the front lawn of the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, a crowd gathered to honor those who have served their country. Members of the East Lansing community laid wreaths on the Veterans Monument and the Medal of Honor Memorial this Thursday.
Company C, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines’ Major Bert Reinink and Inspector-Instructor 1st Sergeant Jan Pocaigue carried the wreaths and placed them in front of both memorials.
With not a cloud in the sky and attendees dressed for the occasion, they celebrated veterans. Attendees wore smiles, greeted each other warmly and honored the servicepeople present.
Following the conclusion of the ceremony, East Lansing Hannah Community Center Director Elaine Hardy thanked those present and invited the crowd to enjoy refreshments.
“I just thought today was an especially beautiful day for the community to come together and honor those men and women who are in service and those who have served our country,” Hardy said. “As a coordinator for this community center, it always makes me happy when the community can come together at this space, but it’s always uplifting when we can come together as Americans and remember our service men and women”
The Veterans Monument recognizes members of the East Lansing community who gave their lives serving their country. The Medal of Honor Memorial recognizes U.S. Marine Corps Reserve 2nd Lt. Sherrod E. Skinner, Jr, who grew up and attended school in East Lansing.
Major Bert Reinink and 1st Sergeant Jan Pocaigue reminded attendees to pause and remember the commitment of those who serve and do not receive recognition.
“It’s an extreme honor to come out here, any time you can come out and memorialize those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who have served faithfully and honorably to this great nation," 1st Sergeant Pocaigue said. "I’m really thankful to the city of East Lansing officials who allowed us to come out here and do this.”
Major Reinink echoed his colleague’s sentiments and gratitude towards the city of East Lansing.
“It is a tremendous honor and we have significant pride in being able to take part in a ceremony such as this. The city of East Lansing has a long-standing reputation for supporting the service members.”
East Lansing Councilmember Aaron Stephens attended not only to support his community, but also his country. He recognized the importance of a supportive community, locally and nationally.
“It’s not only necessary, but extremely important that we pay tribute and service to the service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those people that are still protecting our country," Stephens said. "I am proud to live in a community that does that.”
For many service members, their service brings them away from the places and communities they call home. Major Reinink expressed his great appreciation for the role community plays in the lives of those in service.
“As citizens, as members of the armed forces, we find comfort in community and to know that the community is supportive of us, it is extremely helpful. The community is where we’re born, we’re raised, we go to school, we work, we worship, " Major Reinink said. "Then, as a service member we volunteer and we go somewhere else and we leave that community. When we leave, very often we leave somebody else back in the community, whether it’s our parents, our spouse, kids often get left in the communities and so for us to understand and know that there is support, local support is very comforting.”