In a year when so much attention has been placed on honoring our local heroes in public service positions, we might inadvertently overlook another group of citizens who have served our community and nation valiantly for generations: our veterans. Thousands of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard veterans reside in our neighborhoods and we don’t seem to thank them often enough.

While many veterans of World War II and the Korean War are now retired, they make up the backbone of our community, having returned from battle to work and raise families in our neighborhoods. Several veterans of the Vietnam and Gulf Wars now assist in neighborhood crime watch or have traded their military uniforms for those of police officers or firefighters. Some families in our community have children, grandchildren or other loved ones currently on active duty in the military or standing by in reserve units, waiting for the call to action.

More than 50 years ago, our community erected the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum to honor the memory of our veterans. Every year on Veteran’s Day, we show our support for military men and women with a parade along Parnell Avenue and ceremonies on the grounds of the Coliseum. This year’s parade will be on Saturday, November 9 at 11 a.m. At noon there will be a special program to rededicate the Coliseum and allow the public to tour the renovated facility. The event is free and parking will be available at no charge until 3 p.m.

There are several ways to honor Fort Wayne’s veterans, on Veteran’s Day and everyday. I encourage all citizens to attend the parade and other special Veteran’s Day programs. You can show your interest in and appreciation of veterans by asking them about their military experiences. You can support veteran organizations like the American Legion, whose members continue to give back to the community. And you can display the American flag and other patriotic symbols to show you appreciate veterans’ efforts to preserve our freedom.

Thanks to our veterans we have a community we can all be proud to call home.