What the Monument Means to Me: J. Edward Hamel

“The Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument is important to me and should be for all Americans to honor our Veterans. I am an Army Veteran, 82nd Airborne, and I have two brothers and a son who also served. The Korean War had just ended when I graduated from high school. I joined the Army in 1953 and began my 16 weeks of Basic Training at Fort Dix. In the spring, I transferred to Fort Bragg. It was during Basic Training that I was recruited to go airborne. I’ll never forget the presentation. After explaining the value of going airborne and what it meant to the country, I signed up.

“I turned 90 recently, so I’ve seen Vietnam and Korea, and I even remember World War II. Many family members served. I had an uncle who was 45 when he was drafted into World War II. He had a business, so he had not been drafted previously. He had about a month of training, and then they sent him to France. Within two weeks, he was wounded and back home. Another uncle was in the Navy, and a third was in the Army.

“The Armed Services are essential and important to me. We send young men and women to the most dangerous places in the world. They need to be honored. From the moment I saw the monument design, I knew how significant it would be for the Veterans. I am excited to see it happen in Howard County and proud to support it.”

Written by J. Edward Hamel, Army Veteran and Chairman of Hamel Builders

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