At the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, The Great War came to an end. One year later, we honored those who lost their lives serving our country in World War I on Armistice Day. Thirty-five years later, after World War II, Armistice Day officially became Veterans Day – honoring all veterans who have served in the United States military.
I want to thank the men and women in our state and our local community who have served or who are currently serving our country. Veterans Day is a special occasion to remember the sacrifice and service of the brave men and women in our military, past and present. Every day, we should recognize their hard work and commitment to making the world a safer place.
It’s no easy feat to say goodbye to loved ones for months or even years. I offer my heartfelt gratitude to the military families who have sacrificed sharing memories and special life moments with their loved ones serving in uniform. My family experienced this with my grandfather, who is a World War II veteran. Some of my best memories with my grandfather are of him telling stories of his time in the military. As there are fewer and fewer of the ‘Greatest Generation’ still with us, keep them in mind as you commemorate this national holiday.
This year, Veterans Day is a little different for my family. A little over a month ago, my wife and I dropped off our middle son, Chase, at the airport, where he began his journey with the United States Army. As a father, I know my sons are going to accomplish great things. I’m proud of all three of them, and I am especially proud of Chase – our entire family is. It is very hard to put into words how much our family and friends miss him already, but we are humbled by his passion, determination and selflessness to serve our country. From the few phone calls, letters and even a FaceTime video chat we have received, it sounds like Chase is doing well. We cannot wait to see him in December when he graduates from basic training.
Our veterans deserve every opportunity to have the best life possible when they return home from protecting us. As your state representative, I have supported several laws that will enable veterans to be recognized for their service and allow them to continue supporting themselves and their families. Just this past year, we passed 13 laws that directly impact our veterans.
It may seem hard to believe, but in the past, many Hoosiers in the National Guard were not eligible for veteran status. Due to federal guidelines, these men and women were not given this designation because they had not completed 180 continuous days of deployed active duty service. I firmly believe that if you serve and protect this country, you deserve to receive the benefits that come with making this great sacrifice. Now, Hoosier service men and women who served in a reserve component of the armed forces or in the National Guard and completed the training are considered a veteran.
After 20 years serving our country, many veterans retire and return home, hoping to continue serving their community. Now, they have the opportunity to become police officers, firefighters or emergency service responders. Until recently, age restrictions prevented perfectly capable veterans from serving in these roles. In my mind, there is no better protector for our communities than a veteran.
We can never fully repay the courageous men and women who answered our nation’s call – all for the promise of a safer America and more peaceful world. This is why it’s important to show our gratitude to those who have served. Make sure you thank a veteran every time you get the opportunity. If you are a veteran or are currently protecting our country: thank you.
State Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) represents House District 31, which
includes Blackford County and portions of Delaware, Grant and Wells counties.
A high-resolution photo of Mahan can be downloaded by clicking here.