Honoring veterans

Americans have been observing Veterans Day for over half a century, honoring those who have served in the military and those still on active duty. It gives us the opportunity to pay tribute today to the men and women of the Armed Services. As we do, we embrace them in all of their complexity.

The Veterans Administration has been working to combat the challenges of homelessness veterans, their high unemployment rate, PTSD and substance abuse. As citizens we can pitch in and assist in many ways – even by saying “thank you for your service” when we met a veteran or troop on active duty.

When servicemen and -women have been injured in harms way, they need help in the healing process over and above that which is provided by military hospitals. You can make a donation to any of several volunteer organizations have stepped in to assist in the recovery of wounded veterans. The mission of The Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower wounded soldiers with a variety of programs to strengthen Mind, Body, Economic Empowerment and Engagement, including PTSD evaluation. Fisher House gives families the chance to be close to their military loved ones who are hospitalized and provides scholarships to support programs improving the quality of life for military families. The Semper Fi Fund provides immediate financial support for injured and critically ill Marines and their families.

Want to do something more hands-on? Visit the Operation Gratitude website where you’ll find suggestions for writing personal letters of thanks to veterans, wounded warriors and deployed troops, knitting scarves or braiding bracelets for them, even collecting unused Halloween candy or Girl Scout cookies to send to them. While monetary donations are certainly needed as well, being actively involved in expressing your gratitude can be rewarding.

Can you help make it easier for our brave veterans to transition to civilian jobs and life at home with dignity? If you have a business and are hiring, consider bringing a veteran on board. You’ll receive a tax credit and also a dedicated, disciplined and resilient new employee. Veterans have developed skills of leadership as well as teamwork and are assets in pressured situations.

Veterans deserve our appreciation and recognition every day. As we remember with love and respect the sacrifice of these men and women, we can also reflect on how to incorporate their ideals of service, courage, and camaraderie into our own lives.

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