Autumn and John Brant say Veterans Day means more to their family now, more than ever: their son Marcus will soon deploy for four years.
“Our son is up in Minot, North Dakota. He serves in the United States Air Force. It’s emotional and we’re proud,” said Autumn Brant, Marcus’ mother and a Somerset Borough resident.
Side by side and hand in hand, the Brants leaned on one another for support during Somerset County’s annual Veteran’s Day Observance ceremony on Friday at the county courthouse. They listened to speakers and their daughter, Elizabeth, perform with the Somerset High School choir.
“The music is powerful, the taps are powerful,” said Autumn.
“The speakers they have come, the stories they tell. It gets you,” said Autumn’s husband, John Brant.
Sergeant Thomas Joyce served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He was the guest speaker during the ceremony. Joyce emphasized the need to help veterans suffering from PTSD, something he struggles with more than 50 years later.
“And sometimes today, I still think some of that PTSD still comes out,” Joyce said.
Joyce runs a support group once a month at Somerset Hospital, called Veterans Tales of Courage.
“Everybody has a tale. The courage part is when they can actually open to their wives or children, or nearest relatives. But to get it out,” Joyce said.
Joyce said long and multiple deployments take their toll on servicemen and women, as well as their families. The Brants say their son’s sacrifice is difficult for them, but it also makes them proud.
“Some days it’s unbearable, but you have the sense of pride that you’d want them to do it all over again. So we’re here because they fought for us and they’re still fighting for us. And it’s honoring them and it makes us grateful,” Autumn said.