Veterans Day is a time to recognize Veterans for their sacrifice and service. However for Vern Snyder, a Vietnam Veteran and an employee of the Dayton VA Medical Center, Veterans Day is a time to display patriotism, remember the sacrifices of deceased Veterans and cherish the life of living Veterans.
Vern reminisced with a proud tone, "My ancestors arrived in 1670 and I have relatives that have fought in every war since. So, I come from a family with a proud history of patriotism. My Great Uncle was a World War I Veteran and an American Legion Post located in Liberty, Indiana was named after him, Simon E. Snyder. I am a Vietnam Veteran and I spent 8 years in the Air Force. However, when I returned from combat, I was silent about my service. During that time, in 1980, "WISH TV" in Indiana interviewed returning Veterans about the effects of Delayed Stress Syndrome (today known as Post -traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); and I was interviewed. I shared my story of coping with Delayed Stress Syndrome. But, the media (WISH TV) could not understand how I readjusted into civilian life so well."
Vern paused, gained his composure and continued, "We [Vietnam Veterans] were not welcomed home like Veterans are today. However, I adapted when I returned from combat by reading poetry written by my deceased father. The poetry my father wrote contained pieces of letters I had written him over the years." Tears begin to swell up in Vern’s eyes; he continued, "I also used the GI Bill to return to school and studied nursing. Today, I have a Masters Degree in Nursing."
As a way to honor Veterans and to support his community, Vern has hosted Veterans Day ceremonies for the past five years. As the Commander of American Legion Post #338, LeRoy Tout, located in Dublin, Indiana, he attended the flag raising ceremony in Milton, Indiana. This Veterans Day, Vern also visited the elementary & high school in Cambridge City, Indiana and presented to the students on "Americanism" along with singing "Proud to be an America" at his church service.
While at the Dayton VA Medical Center, Vern says, "I honor Veterans by treating them with respect. I conduct medical rounds almost daily. When I make rounds, I greet the Veteran and tell them I am a Veteran too. Sometimes I sit down and talk with them, which is therapeutic for them and me."
When asked how others can honor Veterans on Veterans Day, Vern expressed his frustration, "I believe we have two generations who don’t appreciate the service men and women. Kids today don’t have a good comprehension of what we [Veterans] went through to get where we are today [freedom] or what we may have to do in the future. Civilians, especially the younger generation, need to realize that Veterans are human beings, not numbers. So they need to shake their hands, recognize them [Veterans], and thank them for their service."
Men and women in the military have sacrificed, their time, and some ultimately their life. So, thank a Veteran for their service, not just on Veterans Day, but each and every day of the year. Without Veterans, we would not have Freedoms we sometimes take for granted.
For all Veterans and Active Duty Service Members around the world, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!