I don’t think it’s coincidental that Thanksgiving and Veterans Day come so close together each year. Perhaps I’ve drawn a line where there isn’t one, but as we enjoy the marches, admire the handsome uniforms worn by our heroes, this Veterans Day I pray we will be more thankful and count our blessings twice for these men, women, and families who have sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy our own.
As the daughter, sister, niece, and aunt of soldiers, I am proud of the service my family has offered through the years. From my earliest memories, my father regaled us with the places he had served, extolled the confidence he had in the Veterans Administration healthcare and he loved that three of my four brothers and a grandson followed his footsteps. He bragged “Cynthie, the VA has the best doctors in the world,” and the level of care the doctors and nurses offered, despite the sometimes long waits, never dulled his enthusiasm for how the U.S. took care of her fighting men and women. He’d point to his G-I benefits as a lifeline.
In 2003, the year before he died, on Veterans Day I sent him flowers addressed them to “My Favorite Veteran.” I’d never sent him flowers before and he usually left the calling to my mom but he called to say the flowers made his day. His call made mine. Now whenever I see anyone wearing a related hat or uniform, especially those from the Vietnam era, I pause and thank them for their service. This year I’m hoping we will say thank you more and invest time and energy to show we mean it.
First, let’s aggressively advocate for intuitive and improved mental health care for our soldiers, veterans, and their families, especially after long and frequent deployments. Long separations and re-entries are a whole other kind of hell and the more deployments, the greater the hell. Every family member is affected. We must encourage and support discreet interventions for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and its many tentacles.
Second, we must not rest until every veteran has a decent place to live, adequate provisions, and work that is indicative of the sacrifice they’ve made. Since 1973 when the U.S. went to an all-volunteer military, men and women have stepped up, signed up, re-upped, and said we will serve. Whether they were motivated or inspired by pivotal events like 9-11 or family tradition, they’ve given us their hearts and souls, their very essence, and we owe them a debt we can never repay. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Finally, this Veterans Day and all through the year, show you care in small and big ways. Send flowers, donate to a veterans’ charity or project, visit a widow or a military cemetery, send a note or a gift card to your favorite soldiers and their family, or offer some other meaningful gesture of appreciation. If you can read what/when you like, see your relatives and friends on a whim, write whatever you want, go about your leisure, and make your own choices, thank a veteran. These freedoms have been purchased through their service, sacrifice, and dedication, lest we forget.
My family is proud to salute Lindon Bond who’s on active duty; thank Gregory, Carey, and William O. Bond Sr., and remember Calvin Sr., Calvin Jr., and John A. Bond Jr., and Nelson, Wallace and James Goodlow this Veterans Day. You’ve made us proud.
I’ve been working on the second edition of 31 is Thirty-wonderful, A Prayer and Reflection Journal/Journey for Triumphant Women, and the book signing is taking place today. You can obtain your copy here – http://touchedbygraceministry.com/store/thirty-wonderful-too/.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.