What it means to be a veteran

On November eleventh 1918, an armistice was signed ending the fighting of World War One.

It was a hope that that agreement would end fighting for good.

As we all know, that wasn't the case as war has continued to make headlines for decades.

Every year on November eleventh, Americans reflect on the sacrifices veterans make to keep our country free.

KHQA's Chad Douglas headed to the annual Veterans Day program at the Illinois Veterans Home to find out what it means to be a veteran.

John Gebhardt says, "I'm John Gebhardt. I served in the U.S. Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel."

Dave Comer says, "My name is Dave Comer, Chickenman. I served the United States Navy and Marine Corps in Vietnam form 1966 to 1969."

Gebhardt says, "I was in during the Vietnam Era and Desert Storm."

"I am not a hero. I'm just a guy who went out and did what I needed to do to keep our country free," said Comer. "A lot of people don't understand that the families also give a lot. They're loved one is taken away from them. The chance of never seeing them again if they don't make it through combat or make it in the war zone."

Gebhardt says, "It's great that the civilian population realizes what the sacrifices the military has made to keep this country free."

Comer says, "A lot of women serve that they don't get the recognition they deserve. The ladies that were in WACS. My mother in law was a nurse there. The ladies that took care of all of our soldiers in Vietnam that didn't get the recognition they deserved. They were in combat zones even though they weren't technically supposed to be."

Gebhardt says, "We have the freedoms to do the things that we do. When you look at what other countries have."

Comer says, "We have our differences. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Tea Party, whatever. But, when it boils down to it, there's one thing we all have in common. We all live in America, and you can't beat that anywhere."

Gebhardt says, "My dad was an immigrant from Switzerland and one of the reasons he came to this country was to have the freedoms that we have here."

Comer says, "Freedom is not free. It's when you don't have freedom is when you realize what you have."

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