A good day to thank a Veteran

Traffic was very light coming into work this morning. Veterans Day, closely associated with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day in other countries, is an American national holiday, and all non-essential government business closes. My granddaughters are home from school today, too, but the University didn’t cancel classes.

Since we couldn’t participate in a Veterans Day ceremony today, yesterday Jay and I thought we’d join for the opening day of a local Rotary Club’s second annual support a veteran fundraiser.

Panoramic View

Covina Rotary’s  “Field of Valor,” featuring 2,027 full-size flags as a tribute to veterans, raises money through flag sponsorship with proceeds used to support local veterans in mortgage and rent relief and other areas of need.

We were treated to comments and memories shared by two Medal of Honor recipients, Vietnam veterans Gary L. Litrell and Jack Jacobs.

In addition to the Congressional Medal of Honor, Litrell received three Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, a Meritorious Service Medal and a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for his service.

Jacobs, who serves as a military analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, received two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts, and of course, the Medal of Honor.

Jacobs also outlined a wonderful program available to schools across the country introducing middle-school children to a curriculum supporting concepts of courage, integrity and citizenship, drawing from the personal accounts of living Medal of Honor recipients.

The display of flags is worth the effort to see and will remain available all week.

Suspended American Flag

Businesses and restaurants across the country say “thank you” to veterans and active service members with free meals, free car washes, and deep discounts on other services.

Veterans Day is an opportunity for all of us to say thank you to those who have served or are currently serving in our Armed Forces. If you’ve had an opportunity to share today with a service organization or participate in a local parade or festivity, I’d love to hear your stories.

Admission to Field of Valor is free. It costs $35 to sponsor a flag. For more information, contact the Rotary Club at 626-332-2978 or visit http://www.covinafieldofvalor.org.

27 thoughts on “A good day to thank a Veteran

    1. Thank you, Jason. If this poem doesn’t bring tears to someone’s eyes I’d have to wonder! I am honored that you took the time to share. I am also grateful to you for your personal sacrifice as well as that of your family–five children! 🙂 I can see that you are a deeply committed man and I am very pleased to be introduced to your blog. Blessings to you on this particular Veterans Day. Debra

    1. I enjoyed reading the notes attached to the flags and finding some dedicated to WW II vets in their 90’s. It makes you realize the WWII vets won’t be with us that much longer. The Medal of Honor winners were speaking about the ways they continue to serve in the schools, and I realized what amazing people they are. I was very pleased to support a Rotary event dedicated to raising money for the current veterans who are returning, many without jobs and certainly without some of the mental health services they require. It was a small event, but very meaningful. 🙂 I was glad to share it!

    1. Thank you, Frank. I really enjoyed the speeches at the little local gathering of veterans. I also enjoyed reading the stories on the flags. I have several veteran friends who were enjoying all the freebies today. I can’t wait to ask them later how much they ate. 🙂

  1. I have conflicted feelings about Veterans Day ~ in WWI and WWII, I’m convinced that we fought a necessary evil and the world is a better place as a result of crushing Hitler and bombing Japan. We were standing up to the BULLIES.

    But since then I feel that most wars are fought for profit due to the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned us against.

    I often wonder at our motives at continuing to engage in wars.

    I would like the focus of Memorial Day and Veterans Day to be PEACE.

    1. I am not in disagreement with you at all in your conflicted feelings about Veterans Day as related to the motivations and outcomes of war. I think it’s unfortunate, but true, that based on a record of either outright lies or shaky moral ground, our stated motivations for war are often deemed untrustworthy. But based on that level of skepticism, I think I’m even more concerned about the welfare of our Veterans. I have a real concern for the numbers who are currently returning home with serious mental health issues and little to no support. I think it’s a scandal that veterans are not receiving the full measure of benefits they were promised. I was very pleased that the local Rotary used Veterans Day to raise money for direct local veteran financial support. There are so many layers to dissect–all the time. On a much more positive note, I did see that troops are mobilizing to help in the Philippines. A much more positive use of our military resources! Thank you for sharing your feelings and perspective, Nancy. I’m sure you actually speak for many who feel similarly!

  2. I woke up with a horrible head cold but had planned since last week to go on a bike ride. So I bundled up because the cold wasn’t just in my head, it was outside too. Rode too few but more than I should have gotten on a Monday. And timed it perfectly so I would be at the parade route to stand among the crowds.

    Well, the crowds weren’t there but I did stand next to the wife of a Korean Veteran who was riding the float. I had on my USA jersey, but it was three layers down. I unzipped all the other layers but I don’t think anyone saw it. But the first veterans of the parade were handing out the flag. SO I had my flag in my hand. And was happy to be standing in the freezing weather on my bike yelling “thank you” to all of the veterans. It was wonderful.

    I took my mom to lunch and the waitress asked if either of us was a veteran, because they were treating them well today. 🙂

    Thank you for your beautiful flag memorial. That is amazing.

    1. You worked a lot harder than I did to celebrate Veterans Day, Colleen. I can’t imagine the bike ride, let alone standing in such cold weather! But I’m so glad you were there to cheer for the parade and the veterans. It sounds to me like you had a wonderful day overall…you covered a lot of ground, my friend. 🙂

  3. dandyknife

    Our church had a wonderful service yesterday. A trumpeter and cellist came to accompany the hymns, the cellist played a piece with the organist during offerings, the trumpeter played Last Post and Reveille, our choir sang Eleanor Daley’s beautiful “Requiem”, and there was a quartet (I was the alto) who sang Alexander Tilley’s haunting “In Flanders Fields”. Both choral pieces were a capella, unusual for us, but we managed quite well.

    Two WWII vets, both members of our congregation, were involved in the reading of the names and the laying of the wreaths. One vet was accompanied by his Air Cadet grandson.

    The local scout troop, from the toddlers to the teens, was there, and were good as gold.

    Finally, in her sermon our minister mentioned the wedding she officiated at our church the day before. One newlywed has family ties to our church and the other newlywed is Hindu, and both religious traditions were honoured in the ceremony. Our minister said that we can thank our vets who have fought that we might attend our houses of worship in this country in safety, dignity, respect, and peace.

    Yeah, it was good.

    1. Oh my goodness, I would have LOVED your church service on Sunday, Dandy! What fantastic music! I love “In Flanders Fields” and would have really enjoyed hearing you sing with your quartet. Your minister sounds quite extraordinary, too. What a perfect tie-in to remind the congregation that our veterans have defended our freedoms to live in “safety, dignity, respect, and peace.” We really need to reflect on that more often, and be grateful. Thank you so much for sharing such a thoughtful response.

  4. It’s so important to stop and reflect on Remembrance Day. We can freely attend services in our houses of worship because of the sacrifices of those whose lives ended all too quickly xx

  5. I think it’s so important that we never forget and go on honouring those who sacrificed their life or their health for others. Thank you for this glimpse of how it’s done in the USA.

    1. Thank you, my friend. And congratulations on your award. These blogging awards are a fun acknowledgement of the effort that goes into maintaining regular posting! I have previously received the Liebster, but my award postings are kind of hidden on a separate page tab, so I apologize for concealing it. 🙂 Nonetheless, I appreciate your thoughtfulness! ox

  6. This is such a fitting way to remember our veterans, Debra. I actually read this on Monday, but, couldn’t get back until now. I mentioned to Tom who was a Rotarian (the club, unfortunately, disbanded as their membership declined). Glad I was able to come back and take a little more time reading here, Debra.

    1. Penny, when I first heard about the Covina Rotary and the flags honoring the vets as a fundraiser, the news story mentioned the amount of money raised in the inaugural year, 2012. It really wasn’t a huge amount at all, but what impressed me was their perseverance and coming back to do it another year. They are focused on simply doing the most with what they have, and I was compelled to stop by and show support. Rotary is a wonderful service organization, as I see it. I’ve never been a member, but I really do admire the work they do!

  7. Wow! Purple Hearts and Medal of Honor. i would totally salute the hero.
    I once got into a Rotary Club gathering of members. They are very nice people with really great intentions.
    And ery nice panaroma, Debra. great job!

    1. I agree with you, Rommel, that Rotary is a wonderful service organization. Its members are very generous with their time. The Covina group went to a great deal of effort to host this Veterans Day event and I, too, was very impressed with the Congressional Medal of Honor winners. I’m glad you liked the panorama. It wasn’t a wonderful result, but I enjoyed using my iPhone feature. Sometimes it comes in handy! 🙂

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