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Veterans Day – November 11

Every year we have a special day for Veterans, but in my career, I am glad to thank Veteran’s for their teamwork, leadership, and service. When they leave the military, these veterans bring their skills to contracts that I work on and companies that I work with…. they get things done.

These three tips by veterans from different branches, jobs and ranks will help us to remember what is at the heart of Veterans Day and how we can honor our veterans this November 11th.

1. A Day of Reflection, Not Celebration. Many people treat Veterans Day the same way they treat Memorial Day — as a day of solemnity in remembrance of those who gave their lives for our nation. Others view the holiday similarly to Independence Day, with celebration of our nation’s freedom.

According to retired Chief Warrant Officer James S. Hanson, Aviation Safety Officer, it’s neither.

“I wish people understood what [Veterans Day] means. It’s not a memorial, go to the graveyard day … it’s not a beer drinking party day. It’s a day to commemorate why the veterans did what they did and do what they do,” he said.

As a military child or spouse, you’re very familiar with the serious work made by service members, and reflection is an important part of honoring our veterans.

This year when you’re talking to your veterans, make a point of asking them about their time in the service. Conversation starters might be:

  • “What made you decide to serve?”
  • “What branch of the service did you serve in?”

Let veterans know that you are interested, listening, and most importantly, grateful.

2. A Day of Gratitude While we all have good intentions when we offer a quick “thanks” to a servicemember in passing, many veterans interviewed reported being tired of the obligatory “Thank you for your service,” said one retired Marine. On the other hand, some veterans don’t feel a need to be thanked at all.

Recognizing that most veterans serve to fulfill an inner calling and sense of personal responsibility — and not to seek fame and glory — will go further than, “Thank you for your service,” ever could.

3. A Day of Careful Conversation “Veteran” is not a one-size-fits-all title. Even within the same unit, each service member will have a different experience — some painful, some triumphant and some both. Don’t make assumptions about how a service person feels about their experience.

While we want to convey our gratitude on Veterans Day, remember that many veterans will be reliving difficult moments from their time in service. Just like with any other interaction, be sure to be sensitive before pursuing a conversation.

For some, Veterans Day is just another federal holiday. But for many, it is a day of reflection, gratitude and conversation.

This year, let’s make sure to honor our veterans in the best way showing gratitude and remembering their many contributions to our country, community and our workplaces.

I am grateful to my Father and Son for serving. They are quiet heroes, and I am glad that they came home to enrich my life and teach me the value of freedom.

I may never understand exactly what they did, but I have learned from them to love this country, to serve by volunteering and to understand that while we have many areas for improvement, we can work as a team (as they did) and make tremendous progress..

 

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