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Veterans Day honors those who served in military

VETERAN-DAYVeterans Day honors those who served in military

By Derek Joy

It all began after World War I ended in 1917. Armistice Day was born as a symbol to end all wars.

Once again America will pay homage to the men and women who served – along with those currently on active duty – in the U.S. Armed Forces.

That is what happens during the various parades and celebratory events throughout the country on Veterans Day.  Honoring U. S. Military Service Veterans in concentrated way.

“It used to be Armistice Day,” said Major Charles Council, JROTC senior army instructor at Miami Central High School.  “The end of World War I was supposed to be the end of all wars.

“Then World War II was fought.  So Armistice Day be-came Veterans Day and was moved to November.  It honors those who served in the military,” added Council, who, while attending Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C., was drafted into the U.S. Army as America built up her Armed Forces in Southeast Asia to fight the Vietnam War.

Council honored his military service, went back and earned his undergraduate degree from Fayetteville State.  He had ambitions of attending the Coast Guard Academy where he would have been among the first Blacks so chosen.

But fate didn’t allow discrimination to take a back seat.  Instead, Council received an officer’s commission in the U. S. Army, where he honorably served 22 years.

There are countless other stories deserving of recognition on Veterans Day. Think of one who is the daughter, sibling and mother of a U. S. Armed Forces Military Service Veteran.

“I’m in constant prayer because you always worry,” re-plied Janet Saunders, when asked what it’s like for a mother of a child in the military.  “They’re always sending them abroad.

“And they’re sending kids home in body bags.  You never know if it’s going to be your child.  They need to stop deploying these veterans in combat two and three times.  That’s why they have all the casualties.”

Saunders’ late father, Earnest Saunders, served in the Army in the Philippine Islands during World War II.  He often spoke of actually seeing the funnel clouds when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan.

Four of her five brothers served in the Army.  The eldest, Sam Saunders, served 24 years before retiring.  The youngest of her two sons, Derek Latson – Chris Latson is the older of the two – has served multiple times in Iraq and Afghanistan during his 16 year Army career.

“They spend way too much time away from their families, too much time away from home.  That’s ridiculous.  They need to honor them when they get out, see that they get what they need, compensate them for their injuries and disabilities,” said Saunders.

Veterans are often hard pressed to find work once their military service has been completed.  They often struggle with finding housing, getting adequate healthcare and winning military service connected disability compensation.

While President Barack Obama has made it a priority to address such issues for veterans through stepped up efforts from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Miami Congresswoman Frederica. S. Wilson – Dem., Dist. 24 – has mounted efforts on the local level.

In addition to forming a 50-member veterans council to gather first hand information, honoring veterans on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Wilson went a step further.

“I think it was very uplifting to know that someone was thinking of you,” said Ronald Maycock, an Army veteran who fought in Vietnam and is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion,.

“People were angry at us when we came home.  They acted as if we were criminals.  I was bitter.  I stayed bitter for a long time.  So being recognized in the Congressional Record is a good thing.”

Maycock spoke of the efforts made by Wilson, who commended to the 113th Congress, a coalition of more than 50 veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Theatres in the Congressional Record.



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