City Commissioner Rick Boehm highlighted the importance of civilian volunteers in the military.
We were there for our country when it needed us, said Ormond Beach City Commissioner Rick Boehm at the city's Veterans Day Celebration at the Ormond Beach Senior Center on Thursday, Nov. 8.
Boehm, a Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War, was the luncheon's guest speaker this year. He said he has been attending the city's annual celebration, which is presented by Leisure Services, for at least a decade, and when he was asked to speak, he was surprised because he was not a career military man, but a civilian who volunteered in his country's time of need.
“It was my intention to serve my country as my country asked me to, and then return to civilian life," Boehm said.
That's what his father and two uncles did during World War II, he said. His family members didn't glorify their service, and therefore Boehm developed a lifelong interest in WWII.
“War was something they did as their service to this country," he said.
He outlined the importance of civilian volunteers with some statistics from the 1940s. Nearly 12 million people joined the armed forces in a span of five years, and an estimated 11 million were discharged as soon as the war ended. These were not professional soldiers, Boehm said, but civilians with a love of country that chose to serve.
It's for this reason, that all veterans should continue to be recognized, he said.
“It took a great love of this country," Boehm said. "It took a great love of what this country stands for, to during wartime, volunteer to serve when you knew that there was a chance that you could get wounded or killed on behalf of your country, and you went and you served it anyway.”