Vet­er­ans hon­ored and cel­e­brated in In­dian Head on Vet­er­ans Day

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WATSON twat­son@somd­news.com

Vet­er­ans Day is one of the many days through­out the year where U.S. cit­i­zens rec­og­nize that the free­doms they ex­er­cise to­day were not free, but were ac­tu­ally paid for with the lives of sol­diers.

Many In­dian Head res­i­dents, stu- dents and vet­er­ans at­tended the Vet­er­ans Day Cer­e­mony at the Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion on Nov. 11, in or­der to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion and re­spect for vet­er­ans.

Mayor Bran­don Paulin spoke

about the his­tory of Vet­er­ans Day in or­der to bet­ter help oth­ers un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of the day and rais­ing aware­ness of veteran sup­port.

“I en­cour­aged ev­ery­one to help take care of our vet­er­ans,” Paulin said. “It’s some­thing that I’ve al­ways been pas­sion­ate about. It’s al­ways an is­sue that is on lo­cal, state and na­tion- al lev­els. I en­cour­aged ev­ery­one to write their elected of­fi­cials to make sure that our vet­er­ans will con­tinue to be taken care of. We need to take care of the peo­ple who took care of our free­doms.”

The guest speaker, Capt. Mary Fein­berg, com- mand­ing of­fi­cer of Naval Sup­port Ac­tiv­ity South Po­tomac, spoke about is- sues that vet­er­ans are still fac­ing after their time of ser­vice.

“Our Viet­nam vet­er­ans in gen­eral have yet to be prop­erly rec­og­nized by our na­tion for their un­fath­omable sac­ri­fices they made for our free­doms,” Fein­berg said. “Health is­sues vet­er­ans face in­clude the Gulf War syn­drome, and the is­sue of veteran sui­cide is one of the most trou­bling, un­set­tling is­sues fac­ing vet­er­ans to­day. It is esti- mated that 22 vet­er­ans com­mit sui­cide a day in this coun­try. It’s one too many and we as a pub­lic have an obli­ga­tion to treat and care for our vet­er­ans and their men­tal health. Just be­cause a veteran made it back from a war alive, doesn’t mean that they didn’t leave a part of them­selves there.”

Fein­berg and Paulin agreed that things will only get bet­ter if cit­i­zens con­tinue to re­mind their lo­cal lead­ers that veteran is­sues mat­ter.

“Peo­ple are al­lowed to have their free­dom be­cause there are peo­ple out there who chose to live a life that put them on the poverty line,” said Jerome E. Stoudamire, re­tired staff sergeant with the U.S. Air Force. “A vast ma­jor­ity of mil­i­tary mem­bers can earn food stamps. But you don’t go into the mil­i­tary to get rich. You are duty bound and that is why I have so much ap- pre­ci­a­tion for the mil­i­tary. You don’t join the mil­i­tary for you, you join the mili- tary for oth­ers.”

The day also served as a time of re­flec­tion for Porter Ham­rick, 94, U.S. Army, re­tired. Ham­rick’s fam­ily brought him to the Vet­er­ans Day Cer­e­mony in In­dian Head and he is one of the town’s old­est vet­er­ans.

“I could be walk­ing down the street and peo­ple would thank me for my ser­vice,” Ham­rick said. “I served this coun- try to keep cit­i­zens safe and Un­cle Sam said they would re­ward you when you served.”

His daugh­ter, Sara Preb­ble, said her fa­ther has al­ways taken pride in his ser­vice and is very pa­tri­otic. Even his grand­daugh- ter, Katie Preb­ble, said she loves be­ing able to tell peo­ple that her grand­fa­ther served. They rec­og­nize how much vet­er­ans have sac­ri­ficed for the coun­try emo­tion­ally and men­tally. How­ever, Ham­rick’s fami- ly said as­sis­tance from the U.S. Depart­ment of Veter- an Af­fairs has been scarce and it is still an is­sue that wor­ries his fam­ily.

“[Veteran care] is a big con­cern for vet­er­ans,” Sara Preb­ble said. “It is pretty sad that the VA has dropped off so much. Th­ese vet­er­ans were promised years ago that they would be taken care of for life.”

Preb­ble said al­though Ham­rick lacks the nec- es­sary aid vet­er­ans were promised, his face still lights up when he tells his sto­ries of be­ing a sol­dier in bat­tle.

Se­nior Master Sgt. Louis Knight, U.S. Air Force, said Vet­er­ans Day al­lows him and other vet­er­ans the time to pause and re­cap­ture what they have gone through dur­ing their time of ser­vice, fight­ing for a peo­ple and a na­tion. He de­scribed th­ese mem­o­ries as build­ing blocks that mo­ti­vated him to find his place in his com­mu­nity.

The cer­e­mony also in­cluded the In­dian Head El­e­men­tary School Cho­rus, who led the Pledge of Al­le­giance and the Na­tional An­them, as well as a spe­cial read­ing by In­dian Head res­i­dent Richard I. Gold. The town also took the time to rec­og­nize Ma­bel Pain­ter, a Viet­nam War Gold Star Mother.

STAFF PHOTO BY TIF­FANY WATSON

Se­nior Master Sgt. Louis Knight, U.S. Air Force, In­dian Head res­i­dent Richard I. Gold, In­dian Head Mayor Bran­don Paulin, and Capt. Mary Fein­berg stand dur­ing a moment of si­lence for the fallen sol­diers and vet­er­ans at the Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion on Nov. 11.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY TIF­FANY WATSON

Jerome E. Stoudamire, re­tired staff sergeant, U.S. Air Force, In­dian Head res­i­dent Richard I. Gold, In­dian Head Mayor Bran­don Paulin, guest speaker Capt. Mary Fein­berg and Se­nior Master Sgt. Louis Knight pose for a photo at the Vet­er­ans Day Cer­e­mony in In­dian Head on Nov. 11.

Mayor of In­dian Head Bran­don Paulin poses with Porter Ham­rick, 94, staff sergeant, U.S. Army (re­tired) at the Vet­er­ans Day Cer­e­mony in In­dian Head on Nov. 11.

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