Seventy-nine years ago, Veterans Day was officially designated as a national holiday by an act of Congress. Since then, November 11 has been a day to honor our veterans for their service to us all.
Many people see Veterans Day as a day to say, “Thank you for your service.” While this is a heartfelt greeting, many veterans will tell you that they would prefer a different sort of greeting. Instead, they would like to hear: “Tell me about your service.”
Fifty-seven thousand veterans are homeless. One and a half million veterans live at or below the poverty line. Progress is being made to help these veterans, but there are still many—particularly female veterans and those who are disabled—who are most at risk. Making connections, being heard, telling their story—are all ways our veterans can be honored even more than simply thanking them for their service. We would all benefit from hearing their stories—it won’t take very long—and it will go a long way for making many veterans feel seen, heard, and honored.
As the CEO of Fedcap, I am thrilled that we have combined with the Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services. This extraordinary organization exists to improve the quality of life for veterans and military families. Their vision is that every veteran can succeed in the communities where they live. Making connections between military and civilian life is an essential piece of their mission. We can all contribute to that noble mission by reaching out and connecting with veterans when we meet them, hearing their stories, and yes, thanking them for their extraordinary service.
To all United States veterans, I send my thanks, and I look forward to hearing more and more of your stories. I am eager to understand your experience and to celebrate all that you have contributed to this country. Happy Veterans Day.