The Importance Of Thanking Our Veterans

The Importance Of Thanking Our Veterans

Lessons learned from a Hudson Valley Honor Flight

April 2, 2016 changed my life in ways that I would not be able to adequately describe in the length of an article. Perhaps one day I will write a book about the numerous amount of lessons the day taught me but for now an article will have to suffice. I bet you are all wondering what exactly happened on April 2, 2016. To answer your question, I was fortunate enough to go on an Honor Flight with Hudson Valley Honor Flight as their social media person for the day and spend the day in Washington D.C with 82 different veterans from World War II and the Korean War.

So what is Hudson Valley Honor Flight? Hudson Valley Honor Flight is the most local hub near me of the Honor Flight Network. The mission of the Honor Flight Network is to "fulfill the dreams of our veterans and help our heroes travel absolutely free." With over 600 World War II veterans dying every day, it is imperative that we show them what their sacrifice means to not just the rest of the United States but to the world. In addition to World War II veterans, different hubs of Honor Flight are taking Korean and Vietnam War veterans as well.

When in Washington, veterans get to see the memorials made in their honor and receive different surprises and royal treatment throughout the day. Some of the royal treatment includes a dinner at a nice hotel in D.C for absolutely no cost to the veteran, receiving different surprises like sweatshirts, goody bags and t-shirts and having a police escort to help the group of veterans and accompanying them for the day (Side Note: Every veteran has a guardian accompany them throughout the day to be a companion and to assist them with whatever they might need. A guardian can be a family member or someone that is a volunteer who is assigned to them.)

As I stated before, I learned an abundant amount of lessons throughout the day. Some examples of them would be that Harry Truman's middle name was in fact just S, the World War II memorial has two sides to it, the Atlantic and the Pacific, and that it did not take a whole day dedicated to veterans to make them feel appreciated. All it took was saying thank you.

People often forget just how powerful the words thank you are. More often than not when veterans come home they blend back into society and appear to be just an average civilian. Most of the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans did not get any special welcome home parades or articles written in their honor, they just got a train ticket home and were told to be on their way. Even men and women coming back home now from Iraq and Afghanistan do not get half the credit that they deserve.

Next time you see someone sporting a U.S Navy hat who looks to be in his late 80s or early 90s or a young 22-year-old woman sporting some Army Combat fatigues make sure you take two minutes out of your day to say thank you. You may just be the first person during the day, week, month or year that has.

Saying thank you does not solely apply to the United States military. If someone does something to make your life even just slightly easier make sure to let them know that you appreciate them.

One of the veterans on the flight turned to me at the end of the day and told me that it was the best days of his life for as long as he could remember. All he kept doing was thanking me for helping out and making this day so special for him and he said that out of everything what meant the most was everyone thanking him.

So show your appreciation to your loved ones and active/retired military close to you. It will mean a lot more than you think.

Cover Image Credit: Shannon Cieciuch

Popular Right Now

No Matter What, We Are All Human

Regardless of who we are or what we've done.

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If I am killed in a terrorist attack before or after this article posts, my words still stand.

You've read that right. I love terrorists.

I love them because I love people. I love the idea that no matter what they have done, there are still those little shreds of humanity left.

Love equals understanding, so if love is too strong, let us use the term "understand".

I understand them, those people who instill fear in others because they believe it is for the greater good. There are no "terrorists", but people who perform terroristic attacks.

We need to remember this because once we place that label of "terrorist", we remove that reality of "human". The only true terrorist is hatred. It attacks our brain, destroying our common sense, and deteriorates at our ability to love.

Maybe if we saw the heartbreak in their chest, the parents they lost, the child that was taken or the distress they felt as the result of another human being, we might lower our weapons long enough to see that they were fighting for the same reasons we were.

I don't watch the news, but I watch the way humans interact with one another. We scream and cuss over the opinions of others. I hate you's and go die's fall harder than the bombs we want to launch at those who wrong us.

We watch "civilized" men holler at each other about how the other is wrong, screaming so loud that they are unable to remember how to use the ears they were gifted with, with the hearing they were born with.

The human instinct to love and understand has evolved into the need to worry about only yourself.

Since we invaded Iraq in 2003, war has increased sevenfold worldwide. We fought this war, claiming we are "fighting for peace", but doesn't fighting for peace make just as much sense as constructing to destruct?

Hatred cannot fight hatred. So instead we need to lower our guns, diffuse our bombs and fight with the words that Ralph C. Smedley gave us.

"Understanding comes through communication, and through understanding, we find peace."

My mother always taught me that I am only human. I am Caucasian and a female. But these are not the things that define me. These are not the things that are meant to shape my life or my beliefs.

I believe there is not a single life that is worth more or less than another, even with the things they may or may not have done.

There are not bad people, just those who do bad things.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Will We Forget This Time

Some people are more concerned about maintaining gun culture than the lives of human beings.

Will we forget this massacre this time? Will this one be forgotten and then will another one take its place soon after to then be forgotten again. After the Sandy Hook Massacre, I thought there could be nothing worse. Then there was the shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, and then the shooting at Vegas, and now the shooting in at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida. All of these massacres as well, as others not mentioned, were equal in hatred, equal in evilness and they occurred with an assault weapon that was designed for military use.

Some people are more concerned about maintaining gun culture than the lives of human beings. There is a notion of freedom within this country that is profound and important. But with the wrong mindset, this notion can be misconstrued to be interpreted as a law that does not allow the regulation of guns. There are some who argue that the assault weapons are used for hunting or for gun collection purposes. These people seem to be more willing to uphold the statues of gun culture in order to maintain the supposed freedom and rights within the constitution while others die because of it.

However, one of the major purposes of the Constitution, more specifically, the Bill of Rights was to uphold freedom and the right to uphold statues of “hunting/gun culture” above the freedom of individuals to go to school and gather in a public vicinity without being shot to death is not truly freedom. And this consideration should not be exclusive to Suburbia but all other cities within the United States. To hold the freedom of gun/hunting culture above freedom is not freedom at all.

Although I support the right to bear arms, the AR-15 is an army assault weapon and it should have never been allowed to be obtained by non- army personnel with mental illness or not no matter if they like to hunt. Conservatives seem to be busy trying to conserve a principle that was written centuries ago to fit the needs or understanding of needs for those times. No one should conserve any century-old principle without scrutiny and proper consideration for how it should be molded to fit our current world

It was not the prevalent mass shootings alone that caused me to realize that there should be gun reform. It was when I learned about the gun violence that is very prevalent in inner cities and urban areas as well. The complexity of the kinds of mass murders that takes place in the inner cities requires more than just the gun reform but this should have also prompted as many people to lead protests and marches and media coverage. This also should not be forgotten

It is true that security measures should have been taken throughout the entire situation but now is not the time to place blame because the crimes have already been committed. More people have died because of a mass massacre and it will continue to happen if proper action is not taken. Some action has been taking place but it must be persistent and when the media forgets and moves on to the next topic, we cannot.

Cover Image Credit: LA Times

Related Content

Facebook Comments