On Veterans Day, herald those who fought for American lives


Veterans Day takes place on Nov. 11 every year in honor of the date when World War I ended in 1918. Originally known as Armistice Day, the holiday honors war veterans and American citizens who have served in the military.

Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery in Owings Mills, Md. (Wikimedia Commons)

Many Baltimore-area organizations will be holding events for Veterans Day, which this year falls on a Friday, in order to honor those who have lived through wars and to support veterans who may be jobless or homeless. Homelessness is a major issue for veterans; according to 2019 statistics compiled by endhomelessness.org, about 21 out of every 10,000 veterans are homeless. This rate is higher than that of the general population, which sits at 17 out of every 10,000 citizens being homeless.

One of the Veterans Day events that seeks to help mitigate this problem for veterans of all backgrounds and religions is the MCVET 5k/10k Virtual Run and Walk, held by the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training (MCVET). The center helps shelter homeless veterans and assists them with matters like financial planning and treatment for substance abuse, another pervasive issue in the veteran population.

The veterans’ organization has held this event for more than 25 years, though this is only the third annual virtual run. The event was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with participants being able to complete the race on their own time from Nov. 5 up until Veterans Day. Runners track the time it took for them to complete the distance they signed up for and can submit it to the race’s online results page.

The run and walk is MCVET’s biggest fundraiser to help homeless veterans, with some 200 people having participated last year, according to Cereta Spencer, MCVET’s director of development and community engagement.

“It’s very important for people to participate because it is a huge funding source for our organization,” said Spencer. “They’re also giving back to the homeless veteran population, and many of our participants who participated in the in-person race continue to support our veterans annually by participating in the virtual race.”

Cemetery service, family celebration

Jewish veterans will meet at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery in Owings Mills, Md., after the standard annual Veterans Day service, which takes place at 11 a.m. The precise time is significant because it is the exact time at which World War I ended. Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum of the Jewish Uniformed Service Association (JUSA) of Maryland will be conducting a service in the Jewish section of the cemetery afterwards.

Col. (ret.) Erwin Burtnick, a member of JUSA’s advisory board, says that the Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery having a Jewish section is a rarity.

“In Maryland, there are three cemeteries that have Jewish sections in them,” he explained. “They were established as strictly state cemeteries. But once the federal government started putting money into them, you couldn’t have separate sections in the cemeteries [for different religions].”

Burtnick also said that JUSA is planning to livestream the event through Zoom for anyone who cannot make it in person.

“Usually, we get a pretty good crowd for this,” he said. “We’re doing more planning this weekend about what we’ll be doing with respect to livestreaming.”

For those who are looking for a more family-friendly way to pay tribute to veterans, the Edward A. Myerberg Center is holding a “Celebrate Veterans Day” event on Tuesday, Nov. 8 in advance of Veterans Day. The event will feature performances by “Voices of Vets” musicians and the Franklin High School Color Guard, as well as a tribute to residents of the center who are veterans. The event, which will also serve light kosher refreshments, is free, but registration is required in advance on the center’s website (see: https://www.myerberg.org/vets2022/).

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