November 11 is a special day for UCT President Dianna Wolfe. Her husband, Richard, is a Vietnam veteran, which gives the day personal meaning to her. She was raised in a home that valued family, tradition, and the sacrifices made by service members throughout the generations, values that still mean a great deal to her today. And her daughter Deb was born on November 11 – when Richard was serving as VFW Post Commander and Diana was VFW Auxiliary Jr. Vice President. As she says, you can’t get more patriotic than that! The following is her guest blog post about ways to recognize and appreciate this special day:
“November 11 is the one day set aside each year to honor those who have served and continue to serve our nations. The date marks Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada, one day designed to show appreciation for our service people and the other to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Whether you live in the United States or Canada, November 11 offers a great opportunity to teach people about the sacrifice service members and their families make year-round. How does your local council plan to commemorate the day this year? Here are some ideas for activities to try for Veterans Day:
- Organize a care-package packing party. Contact a nearby base or an organization like Blue Star Moms to identify troops in need.
- Visit a veterans’ hospital. Chatting with elderly or injured veterans is a great way to brighten their day, plus you’re likely to hear some highly fascinating stories about their time in the service.
- Invite a veteran to speak to your members at your November meeting. Ask them about their time in the military and what that was like. The local VA office will likely be able to identify a good guest speaker.
- Acknowledge veterans in your membership. Consider an after meeting get together featuring remembrance cookies or any other patriotic themed snack.
- Show service members your gratitude throughout the year with a home-cooked meal, thank you note, or day of volunteering.
- Whenever you see someone in uniform, extend a simple word of gratitude or small act of kindness to show how much their service means to you.
If you live in Canada, here are some suggestions for Remembrance Day:
- Wear poppies. They’re available at most local grocers and stores for a donation. The Legion Poppy Fund uses money raised from donations to provide financial assistance and support to veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP and their families, so purchasing one means a lot.
- Visit your town’s monument or memorial center. Many communities have designated war memorials, and if you need help, Veterans Affairs Canada has an online database to help you search for local memorials.
- Visit a war museum. There are over 70 Canadian Armed Forces museums across Canada, and it’s a great way to show respect and honor the fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives for us. If you happen to be in Ottawa, you can visit the Canadian War Museum where you can learn basically everything there is to know about the history of the Canadian military. And if you’re not in Ottawa, you can still visit their online Remembrance Day exhibition.
- Pause for two minutes of silence to honor, reflect on and remember Canada’s fallen soldiers at 11 a.m. on November 11.
Wherever you live, life is most likely better for you and your loved ones because of the courageous efforts of service members who have fought to keep you safe and free. I encourage you and/or your council to make the smallest effort to recognize November 11. It will make all the difference.”