As the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Credit Union, Carolina Trust strongly emphasizes supporting our local Veterans, and we encourage the community to do so as well. One of the ways we show support is through our Annual Veterans Scholarship in memory of Lieutenant Colonel James B. Kendrick, USAF/Retired. The scholarship goes to Veterans Services at Coastal Carolina University to help support military veterans and participants in the ROTC program.
With Veterans Day coming up, I wanted to reshare last year's blog post, "How to Honor Veterans All Year Long." Included within that post is a link to a previous blog post with ways to thank a veteran on Veteran's Day. I hope you'll use the resources below or come up with an idea of your own to honor local veterans this Veteran's Day.
Last year, I wrote the blog post, Ways to Thank a Veteran on Veterans Day. I included all of the typical Veterans Day festivities: flying a flag, saying thank you, attending a service, etc. And as nice as those gestures are, they don't really hold the level of gratitude that we should be showing our former servicemen and women.
On Veterans Day, we close businesses, post on social media, and acknowledge and glorify our Veterans; But how are we thanking them on the other 364 days of the year? Are we celebrating and acknowledging just during the special occasion, the way we do with most other holidays, and then moving on as soon as the decorations come down? How can we continue to honor the men and women who have served our country in our day-to-day lives?
Say Thank You
Although there's no way to truly repay our veterans for the sacrifice that they've made, we can start by saying thank you. I know saying thank you sounds like a pretty simple thing to do, but how often do we pass servicemen and women without speaking. Start acknowledging the men and women in the grocery store wearing a hat with their branch of service. Politely honk the horn and wave to those you pass with a veteran magnet or sticker on their vehicle. Go out of your way to express gratitude to those who have served, both folks you know and total strangers.
Volunteer or Donate to Veteran Organizations
There are so many different organizations, both national and local, that support our nation's veterans. Do your research and find an organization that speaks to you. Many organizations offer opportunities to volunteer your time and/or collect needed donation items. Supporting our veterans is something that everyone should be passionate about, so share your experience with others and encourage them to join you in your efforts!
Listen to Their Stories
Although some veterans don't like talking about their service days, if you're granted the opportunity to hear one of their stories, sit and listen. Give them your full attention and take it all in. The more you learn and understand about their military journey, the better you'll be able to acknowledge their sacrifice and service to our country. If you don't personally know any veterans, visit your local nursing home and spend a few hours sitting with one. I'm sure they'll enjoy the company!
Reflect on Their Sacrifice
Spend time reflecting on how much veterans have sacrificed for you. When people enlist in the service, they knowingly give up so much of their freedom. They give up the ability to choose where they want to live, holidays and special occasions with their loved ones, protection from harm's way, and the normalcy of life that we all take for granted. Our servicemen and women are willing to give all of these things up to ensure you, and I continue to have freedom and protection.
When we reflect on the sacrifice that our servicemen and women make for each of us, for years or sometimes decades, it makes the meaning of Veterans Day so much more important.