I post the same thing today almost every year. It is Veterans Day here in the US and it’s an important day. In today’s day & age and here in the US, for many of us I think it’s all too easy to go through life not personally touched by war. Many of us certainly don’t really consider what kind of sacrifice is entailed with serving in the military. I feel very proud to say that I have both friends and family who have served in the armed forces. I’m very thankful that I grew up with the gift of at least a bit of perspective, from looking at pictures of my dad in the Navy during Vietnam and hearing about some of his experiences to listening to my friend’s Grandpa tell tales of being in a bomber in World War II to seeing my mom relieved after getting word that my uncle had returned safely from another mission, my life was never really directly impacted, but I’m thankful that the stories were told and that I grew up with an understanding of the importance of as well as the sacrifice involved in military service.
Since my dad retired a dozen or so years ago, he has been volunteering with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Most of his time has been spent logging hours in a van he drives from Green Bay to Milwaukee, transporting vets to the big VA hospital for treatment or consultation. He has also been one of the folks you see selling Forget-Me-Nots outside of local businesses to raise funds for the group and behind the scenes he stuffs envelopes to deliver newsletters, among other things. And he serves on the Honor Guard, attending funerals and events to honor other vets.
This is a picture we took this spring before my dad represented the Navy in the Honor Guard at a Memorial Day ceremony. I’m not quite sure who was more proud — the kids of my dad, or my dad of the kids.
In any case, my dad’s service to this group has opened my eyes to the needs of soldiers returning home. He has always said that the Navy gave him a good start in life, it helped him get a better job when he left after 9years of service, and when an old injury needed attending the VA helped him get the care he needed. The DAV’s mission statement is all about ‘fulfilling a promise’ to those who served. I can’t think of a better way to honor veterans than to give back and help take care of them when they come home.
So if you are able to donate time or money, I would encourage you to consider taking some time supporting this or one of the many organizations that support our troops or veterans. If that’s not in the cards this Veterans Day, remember that a simple ‘thank you’ to the vets in your life is much deserved and even more greatly appreciated.