By Michelle R. Dee, Senior Director of External Affairs, U.S. Army Veteran
When people ask me the best way to honor veterans I have a hard time answering. Yes, I am a veteran and my husband is a veteran and the majority of people that are not my blood relatives, but are still my family, are either still serving or veterans. Yet, I don’t speak for veterans. I don’t think any one person can speak for veterans. According to VetPop2014, a document prepared by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, as of this year there are 21,680,534 living civilian veterans and active members of the armed forces. Statistically, veterans are as diverse a population as imaginable. Veterans come from every cross section of society, every walk of life.
Yet, there is one single tie that binds; the blank check. Every person in the armed forces has written one. The fallen have had theirs cashed. Many who have come home with traumatic injuries, visible and invisible have had their checks partially cashed. Many were fortunate to receive their checks back, unblemished. Bottom line, every single person who has served has written that blank check; the one that promised to give everything, up to and including their lives, in service to our nation.
In that tie that binds, in my opinion, is the core of the best way to honor veterans. Serve. Do something. Be a part of something greater than yourself. Volunteer. There are innumerable ways to get involved that not only directly impact veterans, but their families. There are even more ways to get involved that better your community. Ultimately, honoring veterans is about respecting the sacrifices they made and continue to make every day. Making an impact in your community is a pretty great way to honor those sacrifices.
If you are looking for ways to get involved this week, or any week, we can help you find a place to give back. Go ahead; write your own “check,” be a part of something, volunteer.