veterans day

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The mournful sound of taps echoed across the Great Lakes National Cemetery this morning.

More than 1,000 people attended Veterans Day ceremonies at the cemetery in Holly.

Many came to remember fallen comrades, family members and all who served America as soldiers, sailors and marines.

Patrick Lafferty is the American Legion Department Adjutant. He says it’s important to pause and remember on Veterans Day.

“To ensure that everyone who breathes the fresh aid of freedom is reminded of the price paid and the men and women who paid it,” says Lafferty. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's Veterans Day, and all across Michigan, small ceremonies are taking place honoring the nation's military veterans.

A light rain fell in Flint as a small ceremony was held at 11 a.m.

Veterans Day has it's roots in the Armistice that ended World War I. Under the terms of the armistice, that war ended at "The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month."

Vietnam era veteran Raul Garcia told the small group assembled in front of Flint city hall of his pride of being part of a military family.

"To me, it's just a great pride to wear this uniform knowing that we are the greatest nation around," Garcia said. 

There are more than 650,000 military veterans in Michigan.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

It’s almost five in the morning. It’s cold and still dark in Kalamazoo. It takes about 45 minutes to load 21 veterans, 15 wheelchairs and 22 helpers onto a charter bus.

A cheery, caffeinated voice comes over the bus’ loudspeaker, “Good morning everybody how are we doing?” Bobbi Bradley is president of “Talons Out” the new honor flight hub based in Kalamazoo. This is the group’s first mission. It had to raise $34,000 to pull it off.

The donations cover the cost of the day trip for all the veterans on board who are well into their 80s. Bradley says the trip isn’t something many of these vets can physically do on their own.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This Veterans Day, Michigan has the dubious distinction of having its military veterans among those receiving the least government benefits of any in the 50 states.

Michigan’s more than 650 thousand veterans get about $3,400 on average in benefits compared with a national average of nearly five thousand dollars a year.