All across America yesterday, many people gathered to say thank you to those who have served our country and our freedom.

Yesterday in Daviess County, a crowd of more than 150 people gathered on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse for the county’s annual Veterans Day program. Local doctor and military veteran Stephen Cullen was the speaker this year. Cullen served in both the Army and the Indiana National Guard prior to his April 2008 retirement. During his speech, Cullen talked about the Merchant Marines, where his father Linden served. The group is often confused with the Marine Corps, though they carry imports and exports during peacetime and only are a naval auxiliary during times of war in order to deliver troops and war necessities.

There is no official history of the Merchant Marines, though Mariners were known to have played a major role in World War 2 as about 243 thousand of them served during World War 2. More than 9 thousand of them lost their lives in battle. Some of the Merchant Marines (those who served after August 15th of 1945) were not officially recognized with veterans status until 1998. This year also marked the 100th anniversary of the Veterans Monument on the courthouse grounds.