Military Men, Women and Supporters Remember Fallen Veterans

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- At a ceremony through the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other local groups, people laid wreaths to remember veterans who didn't make it home.

Veterans saluted, remembering life during and after war. A journey they acknowledged is not possible without support. One Vietnam veteran spoke of his experience in the military.

"She could see it coming on, you don't want to do it, but it's always there. You're fighting for your life, the most precious thing you've got as a kid," said Charles Carter, who oversees the Harrisonburg chapter of American Veterans.

Kile Kratzer, who served as an ammo tech with the Marines in Afghanistan until 2012, said transitioning to civilian life isn't easy.

"The hardest part was really finding a decent job," said Kratzer.

But Kratzer considers himself lucky to be healthy.

"Got pretty lucky, I got all my fingers, got all my toes, I didn't lose nothing," said Kratzer.

With nearly two dozen military suicides a day, veterans want better treatment.

"When they get out of the service they should be evaluated correctly, OK instead of just throwing them out to the wolf," said Commander of VFW Post 632 Michael Nicolas.

Mental Health is an Issue Nicolas said is related to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"They should be fired and hire crews that care about the Veterans," said Nicholas, who served with the U.S. Army.

As veterans remember friends who didn't make it back, they thank others for helping them cope.

"And it takes a lot of patience for the folks when we come home, because we're messed up for the rest of our life," said Carter.

People also honored those active in the military along with veterans at the Steve Wingfield Memorial Day celebration at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. The event included a ceremony, in addition to music and food for the community.


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