Veterans Day, November 11 is the anniversary of the Armistice, which was signed in the Forest of Campiegne by the Allies and the Germans in 1918, ending WWI, after four years of conflict. In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued his Armistice Day proclamation. The last paragraph set the tone for future observances: To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing of which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and Justice in the councils of the nation.
When I arrived at Matthew Schomberg’s office at 320 East Superior last Friday, Paul Gebert, Hugh Reusser and Dave Britton were just wrapping up the clothes tent. They had been busy all day, passing out clothes and other needed supplies to veterans in need of provisions to help them make it through the coming winter. This was the fifth year in a row that the Wayne Township Trustee Office has participated in the Stand-Down and Healthy Cities event. The large clothes tent was in the Allen County Trustees parking lot, and the health screenings and immunizations services were inside the Trustees office building. There were busy volunteers both inside and out from a number of health organizations.
Paul Gebert, a veteran from the Air National Guard (1970-1976), Dave Britton, a Master Sergeant (1969-1995) and Hugh Reusser, a Captain who just got back from Iraq in April of this year were all working in the clothes tent. All three were volunteering their time, making a difference to veterans who are homeless or on the edge of being on the street.
Hugh said that they had passed out clothes to over 800 people who needed help to just get through day by day. He felt that the number from this year was down about 100 people from last year, probably due to the success the township has been having in identifying and helping those who need to get back on their feet.
As Veterans Day approaches and with the continued conflict in Iraq, President Woodrow Wilson’s words ring more true than ever. It is important to remember those who have sacrificed so much for our country, and be thankful to those veterans who gave so much so that we may enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted.