Snow lightly fell as veterans saluted and residents placed their hands over their hearts Monday morning along Grand Haven’s Harbor Drive, and veterans lowered the flag at the Eternal Flame to half-mast.
American Legion Charles A. Conklin Post 29 Cmdr. Janet Fonger said the nation sets aside time on Nov. 11 to honor veterans both past and present.
Grand Haven resident Ross Carter said he never misses the local Veterans Day ceremony. Since Carter and his wife, Diane, typically exercise three days a week at the nearby Tri-Cities Family YMCA, they went earlier Monday morning so they could attend that day’s ceremony. Diane said it’s an honor to attend it.
After participating in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Michigan State University, Ross Carter was commissioned into the U.S. Army and became a first lieutenant in field artillery. He called his service a “great experience” that led him to meet great people in the military and the individuals he’s met through the local American Legion.
For the past 17 years, Leo DeGram has been a member of the Grand Haven post. DeGram said he’s proud of his fellow veterans at the post who are like family.
From 1948-52, DeGram served in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Germany when the war broke out in Korea. During his service, DeGram became a radio repairman for the 6th Armored Cavalry, and he was a technical sergeant when he was discharged at Fort Hood, Texas.
While DeGram said he appreciates the annual day recognizing veterans, he wishes younger generations would learn more about what veterans have experienced to provide the freedoms Americans enjoy.
Ross Carter said he doesn’t think it’s a well-known fact about the small percentage of the population who are veterans.
“Veterans are a special breed,” he said.
“We were called upon, and we did what we had to do. The camaraderie is tremendous.”