Veterans Day 11.jpg

Faribault-area military veterans helped to bring an end to the 2018 Veterans Day Ceremony in front of the Rice County Courthouse with a three-gun salute. (Daily News file photo)

This Veterans Day, Faribault’s American Legion will once again be at the heart of the community’s efforts to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.

The Honor Guard will visit three area schools — Roosevelt Elementary, Faribault High School and BA High School — in the morning. At each stop, classes will halt as children, teachers and staff alike take a few minutes to pay their respects to our nation’s servicemen and women.

After the school visits have concluded, an event for the entire community will be held at 11 a.m. on the steps of the Rice County Courthouse. At the courthouse, local dignitaries will pay their respect to our nation’s veterans.

With brisk weather predicted for Monday, it’s likely that the outdoor ceremonies will indeed be very brief. Jack Claesen, a member of the Faribault Legion who is working to organize the event, said that even with the cold weather, he’s eager to participate because there’s never a bad time to honor our veterans.

The Honor Guard ceremony on the steps will be followed by a noon luncheon at the Legion, located at 112 Fifth St NE. Each year, the Legion honors a particular veteran for their service to our country and community, and this year the honored veteran is Will Marcum.

Another program to honor our nation’s veterans will be held this weekend at the Rice County Veterans Memorial. It’s being organized by the Legion as well as 23 to 0, a Minnesota-based organization committed to reducing the rate of suicide, especially among veterans and active duty members of the military.

The event, known as, Critical Overwatch will commence at noon on Saturday and run until 11 a.m. on Sunday. In honor of America’s heroes who have lost their lives to suicide, one pair of boots will be dropped by the memorial at the beginning of each hour.

The ceremony at the Veterans Memorial is about far more than just paying respects to the fallen. It’s just a part of 23 to zero’s efforts to end the epidemic of veteran suicide by providing support for military veterans and their families, as well as working to raise awareness of the suicide epidemi.

Statistics released by the military suggest that as many as 22 veterans and 1 active duty service member commit suicide each day. Veterans’ suicide is part of a large and growing national suicide crisis.

Every day, about 87 Americans take their own lives. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of suicide across the country rose by roughly a third from 1999 to 2017 and has continued to increase.

23 to 0 organizer Kirk Mansfield urged members of the community to stop by during the Critical Overwatch, especially those who are struggling with post traumatic stress disorder, depression, traumatic brain injury or other conditions. Mansfield said it’s incredibly important for people to know that they have a community that cares about them, supports them and values them even when there are dark times.

Reach Reporter Andrew Deziel at 507-333-3129 or follow him on Twitter @FDNandrew. © Copyright APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Load comments