Lakeshore News Tonight

Gratitude Goes Beyond Veterans Day

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November 11, 2013 — Though honor does not belong to any one day, on this day it belongs to every United States military veteran.

One local group took time to honor members of every branch of the armed forces today, whose sense of loyalty made them service members.  Today, the Valparaiso Rotary Club honored thirteen veterans, who have different years of service, but share a similar spirit of humility.

“To me, it just really doesn’t kick in yet because, you know, veterans, you think of World War II, the Korean War, the older guys.  So, I guess we just fall into the now,” explains U.S. Army veteran Herrison Chun.  “So, it really hasn’t kicked in yet.  Maybe, you know, twenty years from now.”

This day intended to salute people who served their country was also a time for veterans to define themselves.

U.S. Navy veteran Jim Haklin said, “I don’t consider myself a veteran because, you know, I didn’t really see any action because of the blockade.  Nothing really happened, I mean, it could’ve turned into something bad. My focus is on my uncles. I had one uncle in each branch of the service in World War II.”

Indiana Congressman Pete Visclosky spoke at today’s service and honored all five braches of the nation’s armed forces, “It is a privilege to be here today, particularly with John, because it made me think about my father, who will be 98 next month!  In the service, so many people have provided in the military.”

Indiana Congressman Pete Visclosky spoke at today’s service and honored all five braches of the nation’s armed forces.

As a ranking member of the House of Representatives Defense Appropriation Subcommittee, Visclosky says the welfare of veterans is a priority, “What you want to make sure is those who are on active service, again, are trained, get the right medical services, get the right counseling, uh, so as veterans, they have less problems than they have today.”

Veteran John Wolf has spearheaded this event for 15 years.  As the youngest chaplain to serve in the Navy in World War II, he says his uniform still inspires gratitude more than seven decades later, “We were 16-million in WWII, and now we’re down to less than a million.  So, every time they see me in my Navy cap in the streets or in the store, they always want to talk about it and say, ‘Thank you,’ and that’s appreciated.”

Congressman Visclosky says, no matter the uniform, veterans honored today have given the same sacrifice, “People have given of their time.  If they have suffered no injury at all, which we obviously hope for the overwhelming number of veterans, they gave their time.”

U.S. service men and women say there’s a way anyone can show gratitude:  by telling a veteran, “Thanks.”

By Hilary Powell

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