Blog Article

Veterans Day – Honoring Service and Sacrifice

Each year on Veterans Day, we honor the military men and women who serve and protect our great country.

Included in the 9 million American service men and women in the U.S. age 65 and older are the approximately 1,000 veterans in our communities. We pay tribute to these proud patriots with dedication walls hung with plaques and pictures. We host luncheons for our vets and seminars featuring VA services and benefits.

If we're lucky, we get to hear their stories.

For a veteran, one of the greatest tributes to their service is to fly in an honor flight. We were fortunate to witness that privilege bestowed on American House Charlevoix resident, Leonard Staley. Leonard, along with veterans from each branch of the military, was invited to be part of the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight on June 7, 2022.

Two West Michigan friends, Ray Klomparens and Bill Penna, shared the high points of their lives together; attending the same school, enlisting in the military and raising their families. After losing touch for many years, the two Korean War vets reunited at American House Holland, and their amazing story was featured on CBS News.

And when they turn 100, Marines like American House Park Place resident Lee Vernon Newby are celebrated heroes. Having survived the Battle of Guadalcanal and time in the hospital, Lee returned to the front lines, and eventually earned the Congressional Gold Medal, along with other Montford Point Marines.

For each of us, Saturday, November 11, is a day to honor and celebrate our country’s veterans. While it is customary to offer a “thank you for your service” to veterans, if you’re looking for an alternative, you could instead say, “Thank you for putting your life on hold to serve our country and for the sacrifices you’ve made being away from your family.”

A Veteran’s Perspective

To gain insight from veterans themselves, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs compiled a list of 15 things that veterans want YOU to know:

  1. We are not all soldiers – Only Army personnel are soldiers, You should state “military personnel” or “Veterans” as reference, and not generalize all as “soldiers.”

  2. Reserves are part of the military – Along with active-duty forces, Reservists are trained to serve and have civilian jobs.

  3. Not everyone in the military is infantry – There are a wide range of non-combat jobs in the military, including technicians, mechanics, cooks, administrators, lawyers, doctors, clergy and musicians.

  4. Military has leaders at every level in the chain of command – It is less important to know what rank that person was, and more important to know the person followed orders and was responsible for others.

  5. Military is always on duty – Military personnel work 24/7 with no days off and can be called up for duty at a moment’s notice.

  6. Take pride in appearance and conduct – Each service division has strict standards for appearance and actions.

  7. We did not all kill someone – This is a question that should never be asked.

  8. There are invisible wounds of war which are not prone to becoming dangerous or violent – These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, depression and substance use disorder.

  9. We do not all have PTSD – Combat can be traumatic and may or may not cause PTSD that may require treatment.

  10. It’s hard to ask for help – Military promotes pride and perfection, making it hard for veterans to ask for help. Knowing that brings you one step closer to them.

  11. Military service changes us – The change is permanent and that’s okay.

  12. We differ in how much we identify with the military after leaving active duty – Veterans integrate their military experiences in different ways.

  13. Our families serve with us – Families and loved ones move, provide support and make tremendous sacrifices.

  14. We would die for each other and our country.

  15. We all made this sacrifice for one reason – To serve something more important than ourselves.

Written By

Lori Bender

Bringing over 20 years of writing experience to American House, Lori has worked in every aspect of advertising and produced award-winning websites. She earned a Journalism degree from Central Michigan University.

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