Also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, today we observe and honor the more than 24 million military veterans in the United States. This National Holiday was established in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson, who called for a day "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory."
Another little known fact about this Veteran's Day 2012 is that this is the first year we don't have a veteran of WWI among us. Eventually that will also be the case for WWII veterans. So why not honor and thank them while we can.
Suggestions for ways you can show your appreciation to veterans all throughout the coming year:
o In 2013, attend the local Veteran's Day Parade in your community.
o If you are a business owner, make sure your next new hire is a veteran.
o If you have access to affordable housing, help a homeless veteran get off the streets.
o Buy a soft drink, cup of coffee or tank of gas for a serviceman in uniform at your next road stop.
o At the very least, just say "Thanks for your service" to a soldier passing you by on the street. It's not that difficult and I've done it often enough that it's second nature to me now.
You can also share a life-saving book with a recent veteran who is having a hard time returning to civilian life. A friend of mine, Michelle Matthews, a captain in the United States Army who also experienced combat in Iraq, has written a book, "Re-entry: Surviving Life After War--A Personal Story". reentrybook.com/
Follow this title on Facebook or purchase the book at Amazon.com or BN.com. I only wish my friend John had mentioned to my husband and I about his nephew, Ryan. He was a 22 year-old Army soldier who, upon returning from Afghanistan, was having a difficult time with his new life as a civilian. In August he took his own life.
In appreciation to all those unnamed service men and women, to my grandfathers, to my Dad, to my uncles, to Michelle, to Ryan, to my neighbors and classmates who all made sacrifices to join the armed forces so that we all may enjoy our freedom as a citizens of these United States of America, I thank you!