WEST CHESTER, PA — On Friday, November 11, at 1 p.m., the Watermark at Bellingham will hold a multi-generational Veterans Day ceremony. Coordinated by 92-year-old resident Dick Breen, the event features Dick’s son, Richard, as a guest speaker. Both are Army veterans, but with different military experiences to share.
Dick was drafted in 1953 and served for three years as a private first class. Richard joined the Army ROTC as a freshman at the University of Scranton. He applied for and received an ROTC full tuition-and-books scholarship for his remaining three years of college. Obligated to serve four years of active duty and two years in the Army Reserve, Richard thrived in his Army service and retired as a Colonel after 30 years.
As a communications major, Richard was placed in the Army Signal Corps, and over the years he worked in media and public relations for the Army. Today, he is a Department of Defense civilian working on communications for health-related issues for active duty and retired Army personnel.
Richard will attend the Watermark at Bellingham’s Veterans Day event in uniform and speak about his years of service. After his address, he will encourage other veterans in attendance to share their own experiences and lessons learned. His father, Dick, will be among the residents recognized and encouraged to participate.
“I have noticed that older veterans do not like to tell their stories,” said Richard. “But it is important, so I try to draw them out. When I look in their eyes, I see the pride they felt during a time when they believed they were doing something important.”
Although Dick’s military career was much shorter than his son’s, he is a patriot who understands what it means to wear a uniform for the United States. He is proud of his son for also choosing to serve.
“I am often asked what it means to serve in the military,” said Richard. “To me, it means taking care of the American people, appreciating the freedoms we have here.”
This will be the third year Dick has enlisted the help of his son to lead the community in a Veterans Day event. It has attracted an engaged crowd in the past of other residents and their families and associates.
Originally from Merion Station, Dick has lived at the Watermark at Bellingham for three years. As a very sociable person, he particularly enjoys friendships he has built with other residents, his poker group and classes he helped establish on current events.