Two of bowling’s most respected leaders, Illinois proprietor John Sommer and pro bowler John Petraglia – both Vietnam Veterans and longtime BVL supporters — were BVL’s special guests at the National Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 2013.
Sommer and Petraglia began the day by carrying the US and BVL flags, respectively, as part of the Presidential Color Guard at the observance. BVL is accorded a role in the Veterans Day events by virtue of its membership on the National Veterans Day Organizing Committee.
The Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery was filled to capacity with members of the public, veterans and their families, an array of political and military leaders and dozens of dignitaries including President and Mrs. Obama, Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden.
“It was a great day,” commented Petraglia. “The weather, the ceremony, the music, and pride in country were on display perfectly from start to finish. Being part of the Honor Guard was a wonderful memory I will treasure forever.”
Explained Sommer, “Being there with all the Veterans Service Organizations and recognizing the appreciation that the VA leadership has for BVL really hit home. I’ve always appreciated the important role BVL plays in the lives of our veterans; however, seeing that BVL is truly a respected and valued partner in VA patient care made me even more gratified about the work we do.”
BVL Board Chair Darlene Baker recalled the President’s speech at the ceremony. “The President noted, ‘Here in America, we take care of our own,’ and added, ‘When we talk about fulfilling our promise to our veterans, we don’t mean just today, we mean tomorrow, next year, and forever.’ Well, that’s exactly what BVL is about. We are going to be there for our veterans for the next 70 years as we have for the past 70. We’re keeping that promise.”