COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ivan Forbis, 77, is in a wheelchair and struggles to communicate.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five years ago – attributed to exposure to Agent Orange when he served in Vietnam.
Forbis and his sister Mary Lee Bendig made their first visit to the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus on Monday.
“Very emotional – very overwhelming,” Bendig said after walking through the museum.
The exhibits triggered a lot of memories of family and service.
“Our father served in World War II and he was a radar operator.”
Bendig said to his family, Ivan was a hero. He had enlisted in the Marines right after graduating from South High School in 1961.
“He’s gone through a lot, from being in Vietnam and he still suffers from PTSD,” Bendig said of her older brother. “But the veterans’ service here in Columbus – they’ve helped him tremendously.”
After touring the museum, Forbis and Bendig attended the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.
The ceremony here paid tribute to Ivan and to all men and women who have served, while recognizing that the world continues to be a very dangerous place, Sen. Rob Portman said.
“It’s a dangerous place still and once again, young men and women are willing to put on the uniform and go for us and for the sake of the world to play America’s role, by destiny rather than choice,” he said.
And Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a veteran himself, said Veterans Day is an opportunity to remind and educate young people about the values and the pride of service.
“The most important thing about Veterans Day is the example that we set for the next generation, that idea that young Ohioans are paying attention to what we say and do today,” he said.