The guest speaker for the Veterans Day celebration, retired Brigadier General Nolen Bivens, credited his mother as the key to his success in life. When presented the key to his home town of Chesterfield Monday, he accepted with gratitude and immediately asked permission to present it to his 94-year-old mother who was sitting in the crowd.
Bivens said her words of wisdom, unwavering love, and support guided him throughout a career that took him around the world. “But my heart has always been at home,” said Bivens.
“Mama always said, ‘Stand up to speak. Speak up to be heard. And sit down to be loved.’ “
Those words, Bivens said, encouraged him on many occasions. “And I’ve tried to live by them.”
Bivens said this generation of volunteer soldiers, which is seeing “the largest population of young veterans since Vietnam,” gives him real hope for the future. As we watch them, ages 22 to 30 mostly, return from war and learn to adapt to more and more advanced prosthetics, we are literally able to see courage in action.
That’s because, he said, “they never accept defeat.”
Bivens talked about the sacrifices military family members make as well, and their contribution to this country. He told the crowd he was honored by their presence “to represent Chesterfield County.”
Seeing the band, the color guard and these young people here today, said Bivens, “you see the greatness of our young people.”
Success rides on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, Bivens said. “But how do we honor that sacrifice?”
Bivens suggested that while words are great, as well as prayers, and moments of silence, the best thing Americans can do for their veterans is “not to utter words, but to live by them. Let words bring forth a move to action.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.