Several people attended outside of American Legion Post 11 on Taney Ave.
A veteran's advocate, who had a very powerful story, was the keynote speaker at a Memorial Day ceremony in Frederick on Monday afternoon. Ginger Miller, who served in the US Navy from 1989-1992, also helped establish John 14-2, Inc., to work with veterans and their families who are affected by homelessness, substance abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Several people, including veterans, elected officials and the general public braved the hot sun outside of American Legion Post 11 on Taney Avenue, were in attendance to remember US military personnel who died in the line of duty.
Miller, who had hoped to use the GI Bill to go to college after serving in the military, found herself in a different set of circumstances after she was discharged. "No one explained to me the years of backlogs when filing claims with the VA regional office. And no told me that my husband, who was my knight in shining armor, would come back from war a changed man, with an unwanted house guest; an unwanted house guest that would be identified six years after the fact as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," she said.
"No one told me that there was a strong possibility that I would become a homeless, honorably discharged, disabled female veteran, and that I would have to work three jobs, go to school full time, and take care of my husband, with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, our three-year-old son, all while living in substandard housing," she continued.
But she said establishing John 14-2, Inc., helped other veterans in the same situation as she, and also led to her recovery. "No one told me, that through my advocated efforts, and my effort to reach out to help other veterans in need, that my own healing process would begin, and that the walls of my prison would begin to collapse," she said.
She eventually earned her college degree in accounting from Hofstra University, and is working on an MBA from University of Maryland's University College.
Miller's message to veterans who are having trouble adjusting to civilian life is to reach out. There is help available. "I will stand up on the rooftops and tell every veteran not to give up because there is help," she said. "But most of all, there is hope."
The ceremony also included patriotic music, the playing of Echo-Taps, a three-shot volley, and singing of the National Anthem by former Frederick Alderman Bill Hall.
In addition, a local Boy Scout was awarded Post 11's Community Service Award. Tyler Brown, a high school senior, collected more 1,000 items, such as snacks, treats and toiletries, which will be sent to the military personnel serving at Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan. "Over the last five months, I collected items from local stores. The effort has really paid off. We collected seven-times our original goal of 1,000 items, and I'd like to thank the American Legion for their support" Tyler said, after accepting the award from his father. "I've had a difficult time working out the cost of shipping, considering it costs $400 for our first shipment. They've really helped us through that."