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Honoring Those Who Served This Veterans Day

Kat Dunford, November 6, 2017

Honoring Those Who Served This Veterans Day

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

When I moved to college, I had a culture shock different than what most freshmen experience. For the first time in my life, I was one of only a few people who had a family member serving in the military. From my bubble of living on or around military bases throughout my dad’s career in the Marine Corps, it was strange to no longer be among others who understood the multitude of blessings and challenges growing up in a military family.
I was surprised to learn that some of my peers’ only exposure to Veterans or the military was through movies or television, which often focused on the challenges of military life. Though there were the challenges of deployments and moves, growing up in a military family also brought exciting travel, strong communities, and enduring friendships. We drove across the country to move multiple times, visiting national parks and old Route 66 tourist traps. I learned the importance of service and how to be adaptable.

When my dad deployed during college, many of my friends who were unfamiliar with military life became my biggest supporters. They spent time asking questions and listening, trying to understand the experience. 

There is discussion in the public realm about the disconnect between military and civilian life, but there isn’t always a clear path for people to address it. This week, as we honor all those who have served in the Armed Forces, consider what you can do to build a bridge for Veterans and their families in your community, as my friends did for me. For example, you could:

  • Spend time this week engaged in a Veterans Day celebration near you.
  • Make time to visit a local Veterans’ memorial.
  • Ask a Veteran or Veteran’s family member about their experience.
  • Discover ideas on how to volunteer your time and talents year-round here or learn about volunteering with your local VA Medical Center here.

Continue to thank Veterans and their families for their service, but take a moment to contemplate how you can live by those words. 

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