Celebrating Freedom on the Fourth of July
On our nation’s birthday Americans can reflect on the many freedoms we enjoy, knowing that these freedoms are only possible because of the service and sacrifice of so many men and women who answered the call to serve during times of war. Our community is proud that there are many veterans living at Westminster Canterbury Richmond who bravely answered this call.
One of these men is retired Col. Benjamin Harmon III, an Army veteran who served in both Korea and Vietnam. Harmon followed his father’s example and chose a career of military service. At Virginia Military Institute, he studied civil engineering and then received his commission in 1949.
He served in five countries – the United States, England, Germany, Korea and Vietnam. For Harmon, the highlight of his twenty-seven-year career was serving with American troops in combat. He summed it up by saying, “that’s what it’s all about.” One of his responsibilities was serving as Commanding Officer, 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Republic of Vietnam. Reflecting on this combat experience, he emphasized the importance of “being flexible, prepared and taking it as it comes.” During Operation Junction City, one of the largest U.S. operations of the Vietnam War, Harmon sought to accomplish his mission without endangering any more men than needed.
During the final three years of his army career, Harmon served as Chair of the Military Science Department of the University of Richmond. His duties as chair included teaching students about the U.S. Military on the macro level, sharing his knowledge and experiences. Some of these students also went on to military service and benefitted from Harmon’s leadership experiences.
As a resident, Harmon has been a committed volunteer at Westminster Canterbury, logging over 700 hours of volunteer service in the Mary Morton Parsons Health Center, Sara Belle November Theater and Pastoral Care ministry.
Americans enjoy our freedom today because of generous people like Ben Harmon who commit to serving their country.