Commentary by Rick Baum
Each year, Veterans Day proudly stands as a nationally recognized remembrance on Nov. 11 for those living oath-takers who stood up to serve as the U.S.’s guardians of freedom at whatever the cost. Some are remembered, others forgotten.
Veterans’ love and commitment for our country, freedom and family comes with a demanding and unpredictable price. Many returned home from their service experience indelibly branded, even scarred by the impact on their bodies and minds. Many veterans suffer all the way to their grave. They solemnly realize that if the United States loses its freedom, there is no place to go. Therefore, our prepared military stands to carry the baton of liberty so that we may live in peace.
Make no mistake, the U.S. uniquely stands as the home of the free because of the brave. American wars continuously impact veterans, military families and our nation’s very soul. Without our veterans’ service, there would be no peace.
Monuments and memorials are erected throughout our land to remember the valiant endeavors and heroism that our military personnel of their era sacrificed to preserve freedom. All veterans contributed to our nation’s history in some way.
According to a Dept. of Veterans Affairs 2016 report, Indiana had 418,000 veterans residing in the state. The VA tax-free compensation and pension benefits provided to eligible Indiana veterans and their dependents is worth $1,347,665,000. These benefits relieve some of their burden, enhance their quality of life and contribute to Indiana’s economy.
We must realize the price of military service leaves widows, fatherless and broken-hearted parents behind, and their lives forever changed. They pay a price in their own way. We dislike war, but we must love and actively support our nation’s warriors. I personally know this pain because I lost a son four years after he returned from Iraq.
Sadly, 20 veterans commit suicide a day. Twice as many unsuccessfully attempt it. The VA is committed to improving its outreach and services to honor those who served.
Make an effort this Veterans Day to thank a veteran for serving. Offer a helping hand. Volunteer at the VA or American Legion and make a difference. Show you appreciate your freedom because they served you and our county.
The American Legion provides a way for you to support those who served. Ask us how you can help by calling 317-873-3105 or visiting post79zionsville.com.
Rick Baum, Marine veteran, Vietnam era, Zionsville Legion Post service officer