Memorial Day 2015
Ian Anderson of the band Jethro Tull might have said it best: “It is only the giving that makes you what you are.”
I can’t think of a more heroic act than to give of yourself and serve your fellow man.
Our veterans are some of the very heroes defined by their selfless, giving acts to serve.
With Memorial Day this weekend, I wanted to pause for a moment and take time to remember the great men and women who have served our nation and given us so very much, people who volunteered to serve in the armed forces because of their strong desire to protect others.
Today, more than a million people—including some of our community’s very best men and women—keep us safe by serving in our armed forces in dangerous, far off places like Afghanistan. And millions more have served our country in the past with distinction and honor.
These brave men and women put their lives on the line, sometimes having to give their lives, so that we may freely enjoy ours.
Among the fallen are some young men who were once part of our community:
Army Sergeant Jason Buzzard who was lost in Baghdad, Iraq in 2006,
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jesse Pittman who was lost in Afghanistan in 2011, and
Marine Corps Master Sergeant Aaron Torian who was lost in Afghanistan in 2014.
Along with these military losses, we have lost heroes in the law enforcement community, including Deputy Bob Davis who died protecting the Covelo community in 1995, and Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino who died last year serving the Fort Bragg community.
On Monday when we observe Memorial Day, our local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1900 will lead a parade through Ukiah to honor those who paid the ultimate price while serving our country. Along with this fantastic parade, the street will be lined with American flags to honor those who gave their lives in the service of our country.
The parade is scheduled to start downtown at 10:45 am, travel on School Street to the courthouse, then onto State Street before turning west on Low Gap Road and ending at the Russian River Cemetery.
Along with those we have lost, it is vitally important that we support the veterans who are now arriving home suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include recurring memories or nightmares of the traumatizing event(s), sleeplessness, loss of interest, anger, and irritability. Sometimes these symptoms don’t surface for months or even years after the event or returning from deployment.
The good news is that help for PTSD is close by. One organization committed to helping veterans with PTSD is Welcome Back Veterans (WBV). WBV was created to help returning veterans and their families. On the WBV website, www.welcomebackveterans.org, people can learn more about WBV’s goal to transform the lives of returning veterans.
Another great website to help veterans experiencing difficulties with PTSD is http://maketheconnection.net/, sponsored by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
And the Veterans Crisis Line is an excellent resource for vets who are struggling. This confidential, toll-free service connects veterans in crisis with responders. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 or send a text message to 838255 to receive critical support 24 hours-a-day, every day of the year. The Veterans Crisis Line can be accessed on the web at http://veteranscrisisline.net.
In Ukiah, I am proud that we line our streets with American flags and have parades to recognize and honor those who have given us so much.
This Memorial Day, please take time to remember those who have served. Honor those cherished veterans who have selflessly given each of us more than we could ever know.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.