It’s Veteran’s Day and it’s time to share our photos on Facebook and thank those who are or have served in the military. They deserve the recognition and respect hands down. However, how can we work harder to support Veterans year-round for their sacrifice and bravery? I am not trying to give a lecture either because I am very guilty of saying, “Thank you!” on social media and in passing. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives that we forget about the lives of Veterans. We need to find ways to support our armed forces more than a few holidays out of the year, so I decided to find ways to support our veterans year-round. Before I share them with you, let me share how special Veterans are in my own life.
Some of my fondest childhood memories involve sitting in my grandpa’s lap and listening to him tell his tall tales of his bravery when he served in the military.
Through jokes and humor he was able to make serving in the military sound adventurous and entertaining. “Tell me more, Tell me more,” my sister and I would beg. He was the ultimate storyteller, but he also knew to keep the really scary details out of his stories. I know this because as I grew older and learned about his bravery and dedication. I know that serving in the military was not a walk in the park. It was not uncommon to hear him scream in the middle of the night having terrors.
When I heard this, I would wonder if he was having flashbacks of the time he was sleeping in a zipped-up sleeping bag only to wake up to the sounds of his enemy trying to push him off the cliff in his sleep only to have him escape during his time in The Korean War.
Was this story 100% true?
Who really knows, but it is a story that has stayed with me as I grow older. It could totally be true as he was always a brave man. He had a Purple Heart to prove it, but even if he didn’t have the awards and accolades to prove it, I know he was a brave and dedicated man that served our country with great pride. He lied about his age so he could defend our country at the ripe age of sixteen years old. WOW!
I often wonder about what it would be like if he was still with us.
The questions I would ask, the stories he would share.
No doubt I could write a book on his stories alone. He was a fascinating and colorful man that served our country to the best of his ability.
Another soldier that is near and dear to my heart is my Uncle Lane. While others his age were settling into their careers and comfortable with the 8-5 jobs, he decided to change his path completely in a selfless manner and enlisted in the United States Army. While the young guys were too busy cracking ‘old man’ jokes, Uncle Lane was running laps around them and smoking their butts with the push up contests (or at least that is what he tells me anyways!) ha ha I believe it though because he is very dedicated to the U.S. Army and always serves with pride.
Veterans face many challenges both at home and away, but I think the ultimate sacrifice that they make is leaving their families for long periods of time. I have seen Uncle Lane have to stay strong in the hardest of times. His baby girl was a mere 3 months old when he had to leave for his last deployment. That’s tough and he did with grace as did his wife who also showed strength raising an infant. I often wonder how I would do in such situation. Military families are some of the strongest people I encounter.
Ways to Support Veterans Year-Round
Give a veteran a ride
Medical care may be needed for some veterans for the rest of their lives. Disabled American Veterans provides free transportation to men and women who can’t travel to Veterans Affairs medical facilities on their own. You can volunteer to drive a van for those who need a lift.
Donate frequent flier miles
The Fisher House Foundation has a network of homes on the grounds of military and VA hospitals around the country. These homes help family members be close during the hospitalization of a loved one for a combat injury, illness or disease. Fisher House operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flier miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members. You can also volunteer or donate household items.
Support organizations that support Veterans
Did you know that 22 Veterans commit suicide a day?
That is incredibly shocking and sad to me! Thank goodness for programs like 22KILL! It is a program under the Dallas-based nonprofit Honor Courage Commitment, is hosting its 22KILL Vet Run 2. This second annual motorcycle ride and movie premiere will take place on Saturday, November 14 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The motorcycle ride will begin at Maverick Harley Davidson in Carrollton and ends at the Center for Brain Health in Dallas, where they will premiere the documentary Project 22. 22KILL is partnering with Operation Rock the Troops to raise awareness about issues the 300,000 veterans face each year when transitioning out of the military.
Along with the motorcycle ride and movie premiere, this red carpet charity event will include a step and repeat with photographer, food trucks, live music and a VIP screening room. There will also be a Silent Drill Platoon and a color guard ceremony. One of the Executive Directors of 22KILL, Jacob “Jake” Schick who also appeared in American Sniper, is featured in the documentary.
Show your support for those who have served in the military.
[bctt tweet=”@022kill brings awareness to issues that Veterans can face when returning from active duty.”]
Start the Kids Young
Get your children involved and excited about Veterans by doing a few crafts together. Explain the history of the flag and what it means depending on the age of your child. I want my daughter to know the importance of freedom and those who fight for it starting at a young age.
Write a Letter
Send a care package or a letter
Operation Gratitude is about to send its 1 millionth individually addressed care package to the military community. The packages are sent to current military members as well as veterans, wounded warriors and their caregivers. As more American troops return to civilian life, the Operation Gratitude veterans program has been growing. It also has a letter writing campaign encouraging everyone to write handwritten letters of gratitude to veterans. Over the next two years, Operation Gratitude hopes to provide a care package to every Vietnam veteran ahead of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.
Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded veterans all require a different recovery process. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) provides rehabilitation, activities and career counseling for our nation’s wounded warriors and their families. You can support the Wounded Warrior Project in a number of ways: by hosting a Supporter Event, sending letters to an injured service member, giving a monthly gift, or making a donation in honor of a loved one. This holiday season, WWP encourages supporters to establish employee giving drives by creating Casual Fridays, departmental competitions or office parties to benefit WWP.
Support Military Spouses and Families
The mission of Support Military Spouses is to applaud the brave military wives and husbands who shoulder responsibilities of family, employment, finances, wounded warrior care, and the honoring of fallen heroes.
Veterans do not stop serving and defending our country, it’s in their heart and soul. Let’s strive to do the same year-round. God Bless our Veterans.
Here are even more ways to support our Veterans!
How will you support veterans not only on Veteran’s Day, but year-round?