Post by Tech. Sgt. Phyllis Hanson, Air Force Public Affairs Agency
We 23.2 million living U.S. veterans make up a unique group. We come from all walks of life. We are young, old or somewhere in between. Whether we’re a man or woman makes no matter. We are Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guard and Marines. Our boots march to a different beat — freedom’s beat. We hold proud traditions. We are powerful. We are one.
Veterans Day is today–the one federal holiday in which Americans can celebrate the living Armed Forces and what we stand for, what we fight for and what we sacrifice our lives for — America’s freedom.
So, in turn I think that we, the veterans, owe those who support us a huge thank you back. You send us packages when we’re deployed. And I can tell you, that I well with pride whenever a perfect stranger comes up to me and says, “Thank you,” or even every now and again buys me lunch. You believe in us. You mourn for us. You cheer for us when we return home from war. You help our families cope. Thank you America for without your support we couldn’t do what we do.
I also would be remiss to not thank veterans, especially those who are retired. Now that I live in the D.C. area, I get to visit many a fine veteran at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, also known as the U.S. Soldiers and Airmen’s Home. It gives me great joy to see their smiles and listen to the real-life stories of those men and women who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Despite ages and generations that separate us, we understand each other. It makes me feel so proud to continue to carry freedom’s torch for them.
Another way a person can honor veterans is through a great program called Honor Flight. This program enables veterans a chance to come to our nation’s capital to see the war memorials. Our World War II vets are given top priority, but it is also for those who served in other wars, too. The best part is that they are greeted by hundreds of cheering fans when they arrive. The website also provides arrival information and dates for upcoming visitors if you’d like to be a part of a welcome team.
Not a year goes by where our servicemembers aren’t somewhere in the world helping to solve conflicts. And while some might think that Veterans Day is yet another way for retailers to capitalize on a federal holiday, I thank you for remembering that it means so much more.
There are all sorts of way to give a thanks to a veteran any day. To learn more about veterans, go to the “Veterans History Countdown” on the VA Web site. You can also get lots of great facts on their FAQ page.