That Girl’s Blog: Do Better on Veterans Day

vet-paulIt’s Veteran’s Day. We are told to “Thank A Vet” again and again. I would like to ask you a small favor. Please DON’T just ‘Thank A Vet’… You can do better than that.

First of all, I would like to clear something up. There seems to be some confusion between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. The US Department of Veterans Affairs state the following:

“Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.”

Basically, today we honor the living. The men and woman who served our country and returned home to live their lives. Yes, we pay tribute to those who have since passed, but today we should take the time to thank a veteran for their service to our country. We have parades and we wave flags and businesses give free coffee and discounts… But as I said, I think you can do better.

Last night I had the honor of attending the Cape CodMarine Corps Birthday Ball. I got to see so many dear friends buffed and polished and in their finest dress blues and suits and ties with their beautiful wives all smiling and enjoying a celebration of life dedicated to the US Marine Corps. A celebration of brotherhood that can only be understood by those who are willing to serve our country’s military. There were toasts and songs and prayers and cake!

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There were also stories. Stories that many people don’t often share: Stories of drill sergeants and back-breaking training and combat and funerals.

I was reminded that to be a veteran, means you are also, most likely, a survivor. There is guilt and pain and loss. There are physical wounds and there are mental wounds. There are hardships and there are fights and sometimes despair.

One of the Marines who spoke last night reminded us to reach out to our veterans who were not celebrating with us. He reminded us to REACH OUT. It’s the veterans who need us the most who are least likely to come to a celebration or a parade or reach out to US.

This is how you can do better than a simple courteous greeting: Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. If you know a veteran, take the time to actually have a conversation with them. Listen to their stories, or even offer a distraction from what might be a solitary routine. Have a meal with them. Make plans to go for a dog walk or go fishing or grocery shopping. Veterans of all ages surround us here on the Cape. Every one of them deserves better. Of course, you know what I am going to do today: Line up for free hugs!

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If you would like to add a comment, or share your story, please email me: CatWilson@ccb-media.com

About Cat Wilson

Cat Wilson is "That Girl" on Cape Country 104 – a Cape Cod native and longtime Cape radio personality. She is a passionate supporter of Military and Veteran causes on the Cape and also hosts local music spotlight program, “The Cheap Seats” on Ocean 104.7.



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