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Man who served 31 years in Navy, Marine Corps talks of celebrating Memorial Day

Fallen heroes remembered on Memorial Day at Crown Hill National Cemetery

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Freedom isn’t free; it’s paid for by American men and women in service, some who made the ultimate sacrifice.

On Monday at the Crown Hill National Cemetery, people gathered to pay their respects to fallen soldiers.

Ivan Richard Fuller was a former captain who served 31 years in the Navy and Marine Corps. He served all over the world and during the Vietnam War. He lost many friends.

“Always remember what these brave young men and women have done for us so that we might continue to be free in this nation,” Fuller said. 

Donald Remy, a former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said, “It is a day to remember those who sacrificed it all.”

Remy remembered the heroism of his friends and family who served, but, he says, it’s also important to support our living veterans. “I used to say, ‘homelessness’ and ‘veteran,’ those two words shouldn’t be in the same sentence.”

The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports around 35,574 veterans experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2023.

Thomas Hossfeld, assistant director of VA Indiana Health Care, said, “We have a social work group that focuses on nothing but helping our homeless veterans.”

While Veterans Affairs has multiple programs and resources, some veterans don’t reach out.

Remy said, “I want them to know the VA is here to serve you and take time to take advantage of those benefits you’ve earned.”

At the Memorial Day ceremony, wreaths were laid to remember the brothers and sisters who died in battle, and also to honor the families who lost loved ones. Remy addressed them in a speech. “Only those who shared in your lose can truly understand your grief, and I know there are no words to dull the ache of a missing loved one or ease the pain of their absence.”