Former judge Jim Heimann speaks at American Legion gathering. (Photo by Jannaya Andrews)
The annual Veteran's Day service was held Monday morning at the American Legion Post 43 in Decatur, with several local veterans and their families in attendance.
The service opened with the American Legion Color Guard presenting the flags, followed by Ryan Hirschy singing the National Anthem.
Former Judge James Heimann was the featured speaker during the indoor portion of the event and he told of the hardships that many veterans face, both while serving their country and upon returning home.
Heimann said it is difficult for those who haven't experienced these hardships to understand what veterans are sometimes dealing with. It may even be difficult for fellow veterans to understand as each experience is different. "Veterans coming home from World War II were greeted as heroes, while some veterans of the Vietnam War were spit upon when they returned home," said Heimann. "They served their country, but didn't get their due."
He continued that some veterans are reluctant to talk about their years of service. However, once they get past that initial hesitation most will open and share their experiences, according to Heimann.
"Thanking them is not enough. Words are great, but actions are better, and that's what we need to do," said Heimann.
Heimann encouraged the crowd to talk to veterans and learn their stories, or possibly find veterans who may be living in a care facility, who have no family, and visit with them.
"Family and friends are a great support system," said Heimann. "But what about those who don't have that? What are we doing to help them? Do we think of them? How can we help them, that's what we need to focus on."
The service concluded with the rifle squad saluting departed soldiers and the playing of "Taps" by David Rice.