Yesterday, over 130 veterans and active duty soldiers helped mark the centennial year of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division by taking part in a special flag retreat ceremony in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World.
An elite airborne infantry unit, the 82nd Airborne Division was established in August 1917, shortly after the United States entered World War I – the same war in which Walt and Roy O. Disney both served.
“As a company founded by two brothers who served their nation in uniform during World War I, Disney has always had a strong connection to the armed services and looks for ways to show our support of active-duty military, veterans and their families,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Magic Kingdom Park.
With the 82nd Airborne Division commemorating its centennial year at the National Association Convention in Orlando earlier this week, Disney took the opportunity to honor the service and sacrifice of those who have bravely served in uniform since World War I.
Among the veterans attending the flag retreat ceremony this evening at Walt Disney World Resort was 89-year-old Mel Greene. Greene joined the division after World War II and, following his service, continued to support active-duty 82nd Airborne soldiers. During tonight’s event, Greene learned he will be this year’s recipient of The All-American Medal of Honor—an annual award given to an 82nd Airborne veteran for distinguished service to this elite division.
“I was overwhelmed,” Greene said. I can’t believe that I’m getting that award tonight, because it’s the highest award that the Airborne gives every year. And I don’t know if I even deserve it or not.”
Following the ceremony, the 82nd Airborne Division completed a unit march down Main Street, U.S.A. The division’s 16-member chorus and brass quintet band also delighted guests earlier in the day with musical performances in Liberty Square and Town Square.
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.