There are two times each year when the country is focused on thanking veterans: Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
And while there are 363 other days in the year, we choose these holidays to throw support behind veterans. What many would be surprised to know is that there are tons of organizations working year round to help active duty men and women as well as veterans thrive and make a successful transition to civilian life. You have heard of many such as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the American Legion, USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union, and the Wounded Warrior Project.
But two organizations, Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness and Repay Vets, help veterans in new ways. At Semper Fi, the focus is health and wellness. That’s good for everyone, but it has been such as huge part of our lives on active duty, that it only makes sense to offer a way to continue that in civilian life. Repay Vets capitalizes on the growing crowd-sourcing movement to get veteran campaigns funded.
Come Monday there will be discounts and free meals (I will definitely have my free Starbucks coffee and meal at Applebee’s), but Veterans Day, and every other day, isn’t really about that.
I would be remiss to say, as a veteran, I don’t appreciate the efforts businesses make at this time of year. I appreciate it and I’m sure my fellow vets do as well.
But what I appreciate the most, even more than a free meal, is a simple “thank you.” Really! That’s it! After four years at the Naval Academy and 3 years on active duty, a simple thanks means to me that the person thanking me may not know all of the sacrifices or difficulties, but they appreciate what I volunteered to do for the sake of something bigger than myself.
So, whether it’s today, Monday, or another day when you come across a veteran or someone still on active duty, give us a hearty hand shake and a “thank you.” Those actions are a bigger blessing than you know!
A war veteran waves a U.S. flag as he marches up Fifth Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade in New York Nov. 11, 2012. The holiday honors all veterans of the U .S. armed forces. (CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters)
ESPN’s Hannah Storm and Kenneth Negandhi broadcasting live from the Naval Academy Nov. 8, 2013