Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
They’re all around you. At the grocery store, at your church, you can find them anywhere. They can be young or old, a man or a woman, a father or a daughter.
Veterans are our heroes and the reason our nation has enjoyed and realized the fullness of independence.
As the old saying goes, the cost of freedom isn’t free.
Since the time that George Washington and his soldiers sailed the Potomac to fight for our posterity, millions of brave warriors have died.
The countless sacrifices made, pile so high that a simple thank you is the least one can offer to a veteran.
However, as generations have come and gone, so has the nation’s respect for its heroes.
Rather than be grateful, we are greedy; rather than placing our hand over our heart, we focus our attention on political agendas. This shouldn’t be.
We should take the time to show appreciation to the men and women who care enough about us to risk their lives.
There are several ways we can do that.
If you see men or women with veterans attire or head wear on, take the time to approach, ask them about their day, and then thank them for their service.
Sometimes nursing homes or independent living centers will host Veterans Day events and invite the public to attend.
If you see an advertisement for such an event in your area, you can spend an hour of your day to talk with an older hero.
Many of us have veterans in our families.
Whether it is a cousin who fought in Iraq or a grandfather who endured the Korean War, chances are you know a soldier.
Take the time to write or give them a call. It can be anytime, but with intentions of sending a simple message—”We care about you.”
To the average person, such communication may seem trivial, but to the veteran it makes a world of difference.
These warriors have been through serious struggles, and, often, scars from battle don’t heal in a lifetime.
Contact from a family member provides an extra ounce of strength to endure the emotional and psychological bullets still flying their way.
Currently you can send care packages to soldiers fighting the war on terrorism.
Websites such as operationgratitude.com and herobox.org provide ways for citizens to send care packages to military men and women.
These sites also provide ways for donations to be made to the soldiers’ families.
Imagine the joy fathers or mothers must feel while Skyping with their children to see them embracing a new stuffed animal.
When thanking our veterans, it’s the little things that count.
We should all embrace the attitude of Maya Angelou who said, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.”