Some Suggestions for Celebrating Veterans Day

In November of 1919 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of what was called Armistice Day back then. Wilson said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The holiday has undergone other iterations since that time, but it is a well established opportunity for the nation to remember and honor those who have fought and sacrificed so that this nation might continue to prosper and remain free. There will be the usual parades and picnics, the Honor Guards and praises that will be enjoyed across the nation. Most will enjoy a day off from work and school on Monday and a short workweek as a result of the holiday. All of this is good, of course, but I would like to offer a different kind of challenge to all of us.

It is good, of course, to celebrate the sacrifice and courage of our veterans. They deserve our praise and respect. They also deserve our continued commitment to ensure that our still living veterans, and our most

recent veterans continue to receive the care and support they need as long as necessary.

But I would like to offer some ideas of other things that we could do on this coming weekend, or on the Veterans Day holiday itself. If you have a Veterans Hospital in your area, spend time with some of those that are currently receiving care there. If there is a feeding program for homeless veterans, volunteer to serve meals on one day this coming weekend. If you live near a military cemetery that will be holding services for the fallen, attend it and speak to some of the living veterans in attendance. You don’t have to give up the parade, or the picnic, but just add one of these other ideas to your weekend agenda.

None of these are terribly difficult to do, but the immediate effects that they might have on the veterans you might encounter will be priceless, for them, as well as for you. A little sacrifice of your time to serve those who have given so much for all of us is a worthy thing to do.

Veterans Day began as a day to be set aside each year to honor those who fought in WWI, but since that time it has become a means to honor the veterans of all of the wars America has been engaged in since the Revolutionary War up to the present war in Afghanistan.

Please enjoy your holiday weekend. If you’re a veteran, thank you for what you have done for all of us. If you know any veterans, please say thanks to them. Or simply say, “Welcome Home.” Believe me, that means a lot more than you can know.

Happy Veterans Day!

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