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Veterans Day events abound in NWI

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Updated: January 7, 2013 1:45AM



Sunday is Veterans Day. Many events are planned this weekend in our area, and there are many ways, today and all year, that we can honor or thank the men and women who have served or are serving in our armed forces.

† A Veterans Recognition Service is planned at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Stoney Run County Park in Leroy. A color guard and speakers will be part of the service.

Stoney Run County Park is at 142nd and Union Street, about four miles northwest of Hebron. From Interstate 65, take Exit 247 and go east toward Hebron on U.S. 231. After about 41/2 miles, make a soft left onto 145th Avenue and continue to the park.

† At 10:45 a.m. Sunday, a ceremony will recognize Armistice Day and Veterans Day at the Community Veterans Memorial in Munster, 9710 Calumet Ave.

The CVM is an interesting, beautiful and moving monument any time of year. Set on a 61/2-acre park, it features a series of awe-inspiring granite monuments and life-sized bronze sculptures set along a time line of 20th-century events with engraved bricks along the walking path.

As the time line reaches the years of major military conflicts, the path widens and leads to memorials, one each for World War I; World War II in Europe, in the Pacific and at home; Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War. The memorials include written summaries of the times and the conflict, plus information about the artists’ depictions. Each area also contains interesting audio details.

The final sculpture depicts the future, ending with a poignant message for Veterans Day, and every day: “We Americans cherish our deep commitment to freedom. We Americans have fought hard battles for freedom. We Americans hold out hope to live in peace.”

The memorial’s mission is to remember those who have served in these wars, to educate those who live today about the reality and suffering of war, and to challenge those who shape the future to break the repetition of violence and to imagine peace.

Donations are welcomed for the maintenance and beautification of the Community Veterans Memorial and grounds. You can also support the memorial by purchasing a brick in honor of someone who has served or who is serving in the armed forces. For more information, go to www.communityveteransmemorial.org.

† The United Service Organizations, or USO, relies on private donations in its mission to provide services and entertainment to troops and their families.

At www.uso.org, you can make a monetary contribution to their good works or, by clicking on the “Wishbook” tab, you can select an amount representing a specific gift for a deployed troop, a military family or for a wounded warrior.

Some examples of gift options include, for $15, a deployment kit of snacks, toiletries and phone cards for those just starting service; for $15, books for base libraries; phone call home gifts for $25, and gifts toward recovery for injured service members for $150 and $250.

† Honor Flight Chicago provides Chicago-area and Northwest Indiana World War II veterans, plus terminally ill Korean and Vietnam veterans, with all-expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C., for one-day visits to war memorials.

Honor Flight needs financial donations and volunteers. Its website shows that it costs about $60,000 for each Honor Flight that takes 94 to 100 veterans to Washington, and that 92 cents of every dollar donated funds its operation.

The group also needs volunteers, including guardians who help with wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and other support on each trip. Honor Flight also welcomes thank-you letters to veterans.

Visit www.honorflightchicago.org for more information, including flight applications.

† You can do something sweet for those serving. Today is the last day to drop off candy at Hurst Orthodontics, 1830 S. 11th St., Chesterton, for its annual candy collection for the troops.

They also welcome letters, cards and cash toward shipping costs. Call 926-1463 for more information.



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