Students seek ways to honor men and women in uniform

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Less than 1% of the population decides to make the life-altering decision of serving our country. This small group of men and women are willing to lay down their lives for strangers and spend months apart from loved ones. 

Knowing these sacrifices, a group of students at St. Thomas More Middle School set out to find ways to honor them. The student council set up an assembly with guest speakers who were all linked to the military in some way. The speakers either worked for a military service, such as Veteran’s Affairs (V.A.) or were veterans themselves. Each discussed ways to honor service members.

“You don’t need to thank a veteran but someone who didn’t make it back deserves every honor. They don’t get to live through families. They don’t get to live on through other life’s work so they need to be memorialized,” said Roger Hanzlik, Marine Corps. Veteran.

Teresa Forbes, the director of public affairs at the V.A. also spoke on what they do to support veterans.

The V.A. provides a number of services for veterans. Over 50,000 soldiers that enter the battlefield, come back injured. Knowing that, the health care provider offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, and surgeries if needed,

Also an alarming statistics – those who have served or are still serving are 1.5 more likely to commit or attempt suicide. Serving the United States is a high stress and high-pressure career. With that in mind, the V.A. offers counseling, psychiatrists and other behavioral health options for those in emotional distress.

“There are resources and help available for those veterans when they need us,” said Forbes.

Another organization that was present to speak at the assembly was Black Hills National Cemetery (BHNC). Over 20,000 veterans are laid to rest at BHNC. The cemetery hosts events to honor the fallen and assist families in times of grief.

“We strive every day, not just to take care of the grounds as a national shrine, but to remember the stories of all the veterans that are buried there today,” said Terry Corkains or BHNC.

Send a letter to a deployed soldier, thank a veteran, or simply check in on your friends in uniform. There are countless ways to honor their service.

Categories: Honor Their Service, Local News, South Dakota News