Over the years, veterans have returned home from the trenches in Europe, from the jungles of Southeast Asia, and from the desolate countryside of the Middle East. But not all made it home. For decades, members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard have served our nation willingly and with great pride. Ask any combat veteran today, and they can probably give you the names of fellow members of the military who exemplify the saying that “all gave some and some gave all.” We owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who lost their lives in service to our country, to those who suffered physical injuries or psychological setbacks, as well as to those who were fortunate enough to have completed their military obligations without any real noticeable injuries or setbacks.
Further, we all have a shared responsibility to discover why and put an end to the astonishing number of active military members and veterans who commit suicide — currently, a rate of over 20 per day! Veterans of all branches of the services have truly earned the title of “Hero” and possess the character and qualities we all can admire as we look to them with the respect they deserve. On Friday, November 11, 2022, we, as a nation, celebrate Veteran’s Day. It is the day we should say “Thanks” and pay tribute to those still living amongst us who are veterans of all branches of the military.
This same honor should be extended to veteran members of our police force as well.
Today there are numerous organizations whose mission is to provide various services for our veterans.
The Veteran’s Administration, a government agency, provides a number of services to our veterans, with health care being at the top of their list. Tunnels2Towers is very active in paying off the mortgages of veteran homeowners who have passed away in the line of duty and also remodel existing homes and build smart homes to accommodate veterans who have incurred physical challenges because of their duty in the service. Another highly recognized organization is the Gary Sinise Foundation. Gary Sinise, known to most folks as “Lieutenant Dan” in the movie “Forest Gump,” established his foundation with the mission statement that “we serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. We do this by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.” The Wounded Warrior Project was established “to honor and empower Wounded Warriors who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, co-incidental to your military service on or after September 11, 2001.” These are all great organizations whose focus is on helping veterans.
More specifically, to veterans who have a particular interest in hunting, fishing, and the outdoors, there are a number of organizations that focus on these interests.
The Veterans Afield Foundation’s mission states that “We help facilitate reintegration and healing by empowering people — in a non-clinical setting — to rediscover their sense of purpose, pride, and belonging through hunting, fishing, and the power of the great outdoors.”
The Honored American Veterans Afield program’s vision is “the creation of a small organization of volunteers from the shooting sports industry to facilitate a series of hunting and shooting activities for groups of disabled veterans wherein personal attention of the sponsors and facility operators contributes to the veteran’s sense of joy and accomplishment and a permanent awareness that marvelous things are possible despite disabling injuries.”
I hope that one or more of these organizations, particularly one of the last two, might pique your interest in learning more about their activities and, perhaps, volunteering some of your time to aid in their missions. Each of us has a duty to hold veterans in high regard, and what better way to show your respect for what they have done for us and for our country than spending some quality time working with them through any of the above organizations?