Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen & Brig. Gen. John G. Baker Headline Veterans Day Celebration
by Larry Janezich
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen commemorated Veterans Day and honored the military veterans who have served our county today, in a ceremony hosted by American Legion Post 8 at 3rd and D Streets, SE. He told the crowd of 200 in Folger Park that he has reflected what Veterans Day means in his own life. He recalled that during a recent visit to relatives in Alabama, discussion turned to ancestors who had fought on both sides in the American Civil War. He cited his great, great, great, great grandfather William Percy Shaw from Pennsylvania, who had fought for the Union, been captured, and survived the Confederate’s Libby Prison and then a prison in Mobile, Alabama. The lessons he learned from Shaw, passed down through generations, include resilience, service, and sacrifice. Allen remains committed to providing assistance to veterans and referred to his efforts to provide court services and housing in the District.
Brigadier General John G. Baker, USMC, delivered the Veterans Day Address. Baker is Chief Defense Counsel for the DOD office which supervises military and civilian defense attorneys for Guantanamo Bay detention camp prisoners. He was introduced by Master of Ceremonies, Judge Advocate David Sheldon, as an officer who had “demonstrated moral courage that few have ever been asked to give.” Baker stood for the rule of law when it was discovered that the US government had compromised the lawyer client privilege of detainees and their defense attorneys, was held in contempt and briefly incarcerated before having his contempt conviction overturned in federal court.
Baker told the crowd that Veterans Day is a time for celebration and reflection: “Security doesn’t just happen – it requires effort, sacrifice, courage and commitment. The nation owes a debt of gratitude to veterans,” and cited in particular legal clinics, help in attaining better medical care, employment, suicide prevention, and housing: “We need to serve them as they served us.”