Today is Veterans Day– a day we use for rest and free time with friends and family, possibly even cooking out on the grill. Ask yourselves though what is the meaning of this day and how or what can I do to embrace this day. Let’s look at the history just briefly.
World War I officially ended 28 June 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, however the fighting ended approximately seven months earlier on 11 November 1918. A year later President Wilson made a proclamation that 11 November would be commemorated as Armistice Day. It wasn’t until 13 May 1938 that it was made to be a legal holiday. In October of the same year, President Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Proclamation. The primary reason for the holiday is to celebrate and honor the veterans of America for their love of their country, patriotism, and willingness to sacrifice and serve for the people of our great nation.
As you know the name of our organization is around stopping military suicides, so I ask you to do something more as you celebrate today. The first is to advocate. Write and call your congressional leaders and let them know of your displeasure over the 22+ veterans and one active duty personnel that take their lives each day.
If you know of someone or if you belong to one of the large and powerful Veterans groups such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars, mobilize, advocate, and lobby these same elected officials about the epidemic we are facing. You represent hundreds of thousands and with all of this support the voice of the nation will be heard.
Secondly if you encounter a Veteran that seems to be having a tough time, take a minute to just say, “Hello,” and possibly learn a little of their story. Let them know that they are not alone and will never be forgotten. Reassure them that we are Americans and that we are a family regardless of where we are from, what we do, or what we look like. And above all else, let them know that there is a movement with a strong and caring following that cares and will help them when they need it. That movement is Stop Soldier Suicide.
Just one last comment to close with. If you wholeheartedly want to elicit EFFECTIVE CHANGE we must as a caring and respectful country give an EFFECTIVE EFFORT. Have a wonderful day and I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting our organization and most importantly our veterans.