Veteran’s Day is November 11, but each day is a time to remember those who have served or are currently serving our country.
Although many have returned home from wars, for some, the battle is not over. The 2013 U.S. Census says there are 3.6 million veterans with service-connected disabilities. Each veteran deserves our honor and respect, but throughout the country people are honoring disabled veterans more every day.
You can honor disabled veterans by participating in programs and events in public as well as honoring them from your home by reading and sympathizing with individual stories of loss and resilience. Discovering stories will help you find creative ways to honor disabled veterans in your daily life.
In October 2014, the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation, Inc. (DVLMF) culminated a 17-year long process as President Barack Obama dedicated the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. If you live too far from the memorial in Washington, D.C. to visit, you can participate in its aims by reading veterans’ personal stories. Reading the stories can help you understand some veterans’ motivations for serving and their thoughts about the memorial.
Dennis Joyner, for example, is a triple amputee from the Vietnam War and Secretary of the DVLMF board. He expresses his appreciation for the memorial in his story. It recognizes and remembers the sacrifices and pains many veterans have had to endure.
“Yes,” Joyner says, “this is my Memorial for me to reflect and remember my life as one who gave three limbs defending the freedoms we so dearly cherish and for all those who live it with me.”
You can sympathize with people whose lives are constantly affected by war as you get to know them and their stories. Their battle is still ongoing, even if you do not feel their pains. But you can always learn from their attitudes of service.
You can also show your support and appreciation for veterans every day through federal services. For example, California motorists can pay for “Honoring Veterans” license plates. If you drive in California, you can choose either the armed forces or the veterans service organization logos for your plates to express support.
Many federal parks also recognize disabled citizens and offer them passes for free park access, such as the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.
Whether you’re participating in these benefits with a veteran, visiting memorials, or showing some outward expression of support, you can honor disabled veterans in many ways. Whatever the method, be sure to get to know someone who has served. It will give you ideas for how you can honor someone specific—which will be more meaningful for you and the veteran.
If you are a disable veteran, or if you know a veteran who still struggles and needs assistance, it would be our pleasure to provide any assistance we can. Call us at 801-890-1030.
Photo courtesy of Elvert Barnes via Flickr