I encounter Veterans daily whether it’s in my neighborhood, at the grocery store, or working out at the gym on base. Whenever you start chatting with the veterans it seems like they always have stories. Their stories are vivid, sometimes comical, and often full of courage.
Every single year we are losing more of our World War II veterans. Take this Veterans Day to listen and document those once in a lifetime memories that can be shared with you by not only World War II veterans, but by veterans of every War fought since then. As an adult I wish I would have listened to my grandfather’s stories more carefully so that I could continue to share those stories.
“Sea stories” or “field stories” should be documents as a lasting legacy for children and grandchildren. I highly encourage you to documents your stories for you family. Documentation can be as simple and writing down who’s in those old photos, journaling about your experiences, or sitting down in front of the webcam or a video camera and recording you telling your stories.
Don’t put it off another year! Make this year be the year you share your stories with someone you love. If you’re the loved one of a Veteran help them dig out the old photos and video camera to record their stories. Spend a day remembering the past through their eyes and watch them relive the moment.
Many schools have Veterans Day activities. I would highly encourage veterans of all ages to participate in these events. School age children are the future of America tend to think Veterans are “old, men”, but that couldn’t be farther than the truth. History books tell us the overview; personal stories make history come alive. As a former teacher, I have personally seen how words, photos, uniforms, and stories leave a lasting impression on children.
Top 5 Things to do this Veterans Day
1. Tell your story
2. Listen to a Veterans story
3. Thank a Veteran
4. Support local businesses that sponsor local Veterans Day activities
5. Write a Thank you Letter
Photograph from http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/65211