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

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?


Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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