Honoring our Veterans

veterans day

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy

Our veterans deserve more than just our respect and gratitude. As our past commander in-chief states in the above quote, words are not enough. As I have learned in my Recovery, the best way to express my gratitude is through ongoing action. My life has been directly influenced and deeply affected by veterans and their families I have had the honor to befriend over the last few years. One thing I have learned is that they don’t want our pity or to be treated like victims but, they do want to be an active member of our community and the connection that involves. Although we can never repay our veterans the for the debt we owe them, I believe it is our duty to do our best. Here are a few ideas from the internet and my experience which I believe are ways we go “beyond the holiday” to honor our heroes and their families.

Say ” Thank You.” Any time you see a veteran in uniform or a veteran you know, take the time to shake their hand and extend an heartfelt and sincere thank you for their courage and sacrifice.

Visit a retirement home. Take the time to stop by a neighborhood retirement home and ask if their are any veterans you could speak with. Thank them for their service and take the time to genuinely listen to their stories and wisdom.

Don’t make assumptions. Don’t buy into the stereotypes that veterans are emotionally unstable and/or violent.Although many veterans do suffer from PTSD and emotional scars from their service, ignoring or excluding them is not helpful. We must attempt to engage and support them while honoring their personal desire for involvement. Every veteran’s unique story can be a lesson to us all.

Invest in Veterans. Many veterans struggle to find employment after leaving the military. Veterans make great employees. Hire a veteran and support hiring initiatives.

Educate yourself. Spend some time educating yourself on veterans issues, both nationally and locally. 23 veterans a day commit suicide and many others need adaptive or mental health services. One of the best ways we can honor veterans is to support the programs that assist them and their families. Share your knowledge with friends and families.

Get Involved. Volunteer- donate your time and/or resources to the programs that can best benefit those in need. Engage in the political process. Hold the VA accountable and support candidates and policies that ensure we keep our promises to those who selflessly gave to ensure our freedom.

Because of the hard work and sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform we are able to enjoy the incredible life we have. Our veterans deserve not only our thanks but our ongoing love and support. Not only today, but every day.

With Gratitude,

Mark Kloster
Alumni Coordinator

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