United States Army Sergeant Max Yardley, who is a 2014 graduate of Pierson High School, has returned home to Sag Harbor. Mr. Yardley, 22, has been asked to give the Veterans Day keynote address following the annual parade, which happens to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The young veteran shared some thoughts with The Sag Harbor Express ahead of Sunday’s celebration.
What is the significance, for you, of Veterans Day?
Most people will know that Veterans Day is a day to remember the service of all of our veterans, but going beyond that, it’s another opportunity to come together as a community and participate in gatherings and parades. For as long as I can remember, it’s been like that. I was in the Boy Scouts growing up here, so it’s not new to me, and now that I’m a veteran myself, it’s still an opportunity to come together with my community and give back. It’s something that’s very special about this place. It’s obviously not the same everywhere else.
How meaningful is it that you’ve been asked to speak?
It’s very meaningful. It’s a great honor, being one of the younger members of both the Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Being in the military, I received a lot of support from this community and I’m very grateful for that. Being able to address the community that has shown me so much support definitely contributes to the meaning.
Can you give me a brief preview of some of your remarks?
I’m planning on talking about the significance of Veterans Day, of course, and what that has meant to me over the years, as I’ve gone through different organizations. What it has meant throughout my life and what it continues to mean to me.
I often hear people say, ‘Thank you for your service’ on Veterans Day. Does that have an impact for someone who has served?
Speaking from how I feel personally, I think so. I’ve heard people say they don’t like hearing that, but I don’t see anything wrong with that, and I do think it is impactful. As long as people who are saying it are being sincere about it, absolutely.
What’s one way you would recommend people in the community honor military personnel on Veterans Day?
By doing exactly what we’ve been talking about. Participating in parades, but also on Memorial Day as well. The best way to show respect and honor veterans is to attend events and be involved in organizations like the American Legion, which has so many fundraisers and functions throughout the year to honor veterans, and that’s a great way to be involved.
Speaking of organizations, is there a particular veterans’ cause that you would recommend people support?
In Jordan’s Honor. That organization is very close to me. Both of Jordan Haerter’s parents are great members of this community and have been very supportive of me since I can remember. That organization does exceptional work.
The annual Sag Harbor Veterans Day Parade will step off on Sunday, November 11, at 10 a.m. at the Civil War Monument at the intersection of Main Street and Madison Street and march to the American Legion Chelberg-Battle Post 388. Mr. Yardley will be joined by speakers Hap Wils, the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9082, and Paul Gerecke, the commander of the American Legion.