Celebrating Veterans Day

A heartwarming story of a chance encounter at a VA clinic on Veterans Day and the connection made with a WWII veteran. Learn about the Aid and Attendance Program and share your own story of applying for veterans benefits.

Celebrating Veterans Day
Celebrating Veterans Day

By Judy

Celebrating Veterans Day has a very personal meaning to me. I have an encounter, recently that I thought I would share with you.

Yesterday, my husband had an appointment at the VA clinic/hospital. Parking is always a challenge there, and yesterday was no exception. So that he wouldn’t be late, he went on into the building while I found a place to park.

Walking from the parking lot into the building, I saw an elderly black gentleman on the sidewalk. He was taking his time walking up the steep hill to the entrance. He had a lovely old walking stick, and a cap that said “WWII Veteran”. As I started to pass, he said good morning to me, and wasn’t it a pretty day, and I smiled back at him and said it was.

Then he said, “I was always told that if you’re nice to people, pretty girls will smile at you!” It’s been … a long time … since I was a girl – and I have no illusions about my looks, either. But I did smile at him, and laughed with him, and thanked him for the compliment. And I slowed down my steps and accompanied him into the building. He confirmed that he was a veteran of the second World War, and I thanked him for his service. He got a bit bashful then, and thanked me for caring!

After we entered the building, we went our separate ways, him to whatever appointment he had, I to find my husband. But we saw him later, at the coffee shop there, and he came and sat with us. He joked with my husband that he’d better hang on to me. Because he was thinking of stealing me. We chatted about how big the hospital was… nothing very earth shaking.

I looked at this elderly man, proudly wearing that veteran’s cap. He was proud of having served his country. Proud to talk to my husband, another vet. Even though hey were in a different war. He was impishly delighted to get a smile from “a pretty girl”. And I thought of how so few of those WWII vets are still with us. We lose more each year, each month… and some are lost mentally long before their physical bodies die.

This gentleman grew up in the South during the Jim Crow era, during the Great Depression. He fought to protect his country during WWII. He saw the McCarthy political era, the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Movement. Viet Nam, the 60s “counterculture”… and the end of one millennium and beginning of another. From the atomic bomb to the Space Shuttle – so many years, so many changes…

But he still has the time and the sense of fun to flirt a bit, to smile at people, and to just enjoy a lovely day. And he certainly made my day.

(I made a “lap sized” afghan in bright red and soft gray wools. I had no one in mind when I crocheted it. I was occupying my hands while watching TV or movies, or talking with someone. I took this afghan with me to the VA hospital, intending to drop it off at a volunteer or social services office.

As this sweet elderly man and I parted … and started walking away from each other, I felt an urge to turn back and return to him. As I did so, I pulled out the afghan and handed it to him. I told him that I did not know, while making it, who I was making it for… but now I knew I was making it for him. When we saw him later at the coffee shop, Doug recognized the afghan and asked if that was the man I had just told him about.

When the gentleman saw us looking at him, he pointed at the afghan. It waa lying folded on the table before him. I nodded, and he picked up the afghan and brought it with him as he joined us at our table. He was so excited, he actually left his walking stick behind – but a young man brought it to him.

That wool was left over from another project, and my labor was mostly a way of filling some time. For a few hours of “tying knots” – as my friend Larry calls it – I was able to bring a smile to a real war hero. In return, I feel like I was given a wonderful gift in the smile on that man’s face.)

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Celebrating Veterans Day

Celebrate and Honor Veterans Day: Ways to Show Your Support

On November 11th, we come together to honor and appreciate the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation. While Memorial Day recognizes those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Veterans Day gives us the opportunity to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of service members and their families throughout the year.

It is a day to show our gratitude and pay tribute to the selfless acts of those who have dedicated their lives to protecting our country.

Celebrate Veterans Day

As we celebrate Veterans Day, it's important to remember that this day is not just another holiday, but a time to honor and thank those who have served. These individuals have put their lives on the line in order to protect our freedoms and way of life. They have endured hardships, faced challenges, and made countless sacrifices to serve our nation.

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    So how can we honor our veterans on this special day?

    Here are a few ways that you can show your appreciation:

    Attend a Veterans Day event or parade: Many cities and towns hold parades and events to honor veterans on this day. Attending one of these events is a great way to show your support and appreciation.

    Thank a veteran: Take the time to thank any veterans you know personally or meet on this day. A simple "thank you for your service" can go a long way in showing your gratitude.

    Volunteer or donate to organizations supporting veterans: There are many organizations dedicated to helping and supporting veterans. Consider volunteering your time or making a donation to one of these organizations.

    Fly the American flag: Show your patriotism by displaying the American flag on this day, as well as throughout the year.

    Listen to veterans' stories: Many veterans have incredible stories and experiences that they are willing to share. Take the time to listen and learn from their perspective.

    Educate others: Use this day as an opportunity to educate others about the importance of honoring veterans and their service.

    Support businesses that support veterans: Many businesses offer discounts or special promotions for veterans on this day. Show your support by choosing to do business with them.

    Above all, let's remember that honoring our veterans should not be limited to just one day out of the year. Let's make it a priority to show our gratitude and support for them every day. So this Veterans Day, let's honor those who have served and continue to serve with the respect, appreciation, and recognition they truly deserve. Thank you to all the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much in service to our country. We are forever grateful for your courage and dedication.

    Let's never forget the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom and let's continue to honor those who served, not just on Veterans Day, but every day. We salute you! #HonoringVeterans #VeteransDay #ThankYouVeterans

    Let us all come together to remember and honor those who have served our nation.

    Here are a few more suggestions to help you honor those that served

    Enjoy a Free or Discounted Meal: Many restaurants offer complimentary meals or discounts to Veterans and service members on Veterans Day. Remember to bring proof of service and call ahead to confirm the offer.

    Visit State Parks and Museums: Explore the rich history and natural beauty of your local state parks and museums, as many offer free entry on Veterans Day. Check their website or give them a call to confirm.

    Support Deployed Troops: If you don't know someone currently stationed overseas, reach out to nearby bases or organizations like Blue Star Moms to find out how you can help by organizing care-package packing parties.

    Involve Children: Engage young children in learning about the importance of Veterans Day through coloring sheets and educational videos available online.

    Inspire Future Generations: Teachers, incorporate Veterans Day into your curriculum through creative writing contests or inviting Veterans to speak in your classroom. Connect with local organizations for support and guidance.

    Celebrate Veterans in Your Community: Discover how America's communities are better thanks to Veterans. Join us on our nationwide tour, #ThanksToVeterans, showcasing Veteran camaraderie, community service, and the ongoing impact of Veterans in our neighborhoods.

    Express Gratitude at Work: Show appreciation to the Veterans in your office with a simple thank you, or go the extra mile by treating them to coffee or lunch, remembering that Veterans appreciate sincere gestures.

    Support Veteran-Owned Businesses: Seek out and support Veteran-owned businesses in your community using business profiles, directories, or recommendations from friends.

    Make a Difference: Donate to charities that assist Veterans in need or volunteer your time to make a direct impact on the lives of those who have served.

    Observe a Moment of Silence: Honor Veterans with a personal moment of silence on Veterans Day at 11:11 am, for two minutes.

    Let's all come together and make Veterans Day a day of gratitude, appreciation, and support for those who have served our nation.