Military Veterans of Cuenca Veterans Day Commemoration

Cuenca Expats Magazine, Issue 45

Photos courtesy of Military Veterans of Cuenca

On November 10, 2023, San Sebastian Park in Cuenca, Ecuador became a hub of reflection and gratitude for over 400 attendees as it played host to a Veterans Day celebration honoring not only the United States Veterans, but also those from Ecuador, Canada, the Netherlands, Colombia, and Britain. The event, skillfully orchestrated by a dedicated coordination team, brought together a diverse group of attendees, each contributing to the commemoration in their unique way. Organizing this event were the Military Veterans of Cuenca, whose mission is to provide an enriching environment for Veterans from all branches and nationalities to gather for the purpose of camaraderie and service, and to give back to the Cuenca community in which they live.


The Master of Ceremonies, Scott Mack, set the tone for the event with a robust welcome, emphasizing the core principle of military service—servant leadership. This theme resonated throughout the ceremony, reminding attendees of the selflessness and dedication of those who have served in the armed forces. Reverend Will Gibson’s heartfelt prayer stir the emotions of many participants, emphasizing a universal call for peace. Providing a historical context to Veterans Day, Brigadier General John Miño, the commanding officer of the Third Military Zone, shared insights into the significance of the day and the importance of recognizing the sacrifices made by Veterans.

His address illuminated the shared values that bind nations in the pursuit of peace and freedom. The event was further enriched by the Third Military Zone’s Army Band. Consular Chief Mrs. Mary Fisk-Ridder, representing the United States of America, delivered a bilingual address emphasizing the importance of unilateral partnerships between the U.S. and Ecuador. 

Her words underscored the diplomatic ties that contribute to global stability.

Magister Felipe Ochoa, the international relations director for Cuenca, represented Mayor Dr. Cristian Zamora. He highlighted the city’s infrastructure, making it an inviting place for expats, emphasizing the welcoming atmosphere that Cuenca provides to residents and visitors alike. Miss Cuenca, Serina Maldonado, graced the occasion, symbolizing the unity and diversity of the community. The eloquent Veteran Ed O’Connor shared poignant memories of his service, expressing gratitude to fellow Veterans for their sacrifices in preserving civil liberties. A crucial element of the event was the dedicated coordination team, led by Clarke E. Brown, Pat Vintimilla, David McDevitt, Hector Munoz, Steve Waxman, Terry Bennett, and Ernesto Loucel. The ceremony concluded with two presentations of flowers, warmly received by Consular Chief Mrs. Fisk-Ridder and Serina Maldonado.

In summary, the Veterans Day celebration in Cuenca, Ecuador, was a testament to the power of unity, gratitude, and reflection. The event successfully brought together diverse voices, emphasizing the shared values that transcend borders and cultures. As attendees left the ceremony, they carried with them a renewed appreciation for the sacrifices made by Veterans and a sense of solidarity that transcends national boundaries.



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