FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — Veterans Day this year looked a lot different because of the pandemic. For the first time, the City of Fishers hosted their Veterans Day ceremony virtually.
When the city was originally planning their Veterans Day program they thought the event would be packed with hundreds of people. Because of the pandemic they had to go virtual this year.
Fishers is proud of their veteran community. If you drove through Fishers near city hall Wednesday you were greeted with dozens of flags and pictures of local veterans. What you didn’t see was a large crowd. The pandemic meant no in-person Veterans Day ceremony. Air Force veteran Julia Erb said while she’s disappointed about the changes, it didn’t change the pride she has of her service that she carries with her in her heart and on her chest.
“This is a cherished pin, it’s probably all that I have left of my military pins,” said Erb.
She has an honorary pin she and many other veterans received from Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness last Veterans Day honoring their service. She joined the Air Force when she was just 19 years old in 1971. It was a time when a woman’s role in the military was limited. The pin is a symbol of how far the country has come.
“When I walked off the base for the last time I was told not to wear my uniform. People were not accepting anything military at the time,” she said.
Vietnam Navy veteran El Ahlwardt also received one of those pins. He said while he understands the community’s disappointment, he said people don’t have to wait until Veterans Day to honor a veteran.
They’ve done something that not very many people have. For that reason they’re worthy of recognition,” said Ahlwardt.
Erb said that recognition means everything to her.
“People saying thank you for the time you served, It makes it easier for me to stand out in public and say I’m a veteran. That is something I couldn’t do for years,” said Erb.