Veterans Day

This morning I watched Hailey sing to the veterans being honored at her school and it was lovely.


If you’re a veteran, or a relative of one, I thank you.

And a special salute today to Hailey’s grandfather and great-grandfather.

My father
My father
Victor's grandfather.
Victor’s grandfather.

Today, there are almost 50,000 homeless veterans in America and over a million  considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty. Hundreds of thousands of veterans have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and there are an increasing number of military families who rely on food stamps.  For ways to help, click here.

55 thoughts on “Veterans Day

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I know a lot of people do this but I think it’s a great idea worth repeating– if you’re out and you see a serviceperson in line at a fast food restaurant or wherever, tell the cashier that you want to pay for their meal. It’s usually such a small amount of money but the amount of gratitude is priceless. It’s really the least we can do…

  2. As a Army Brat who lived through countless bouts of poverty in my youth, this is my favorite Vet’s Day post. Thank you so much for this.

  3. As a former Army wife (and yes, I liked the Army part better than the wife…), it makes me sick how my “family” has been treated. They served…they suffered…and now they need our help from a VA system that isn’t funded to deal with the mass emotional and physical casualties that have come home. We need to do better.

  4. I am a 14 yr veteran of the US Navy and most of my family are veterans or spouses of veterans. One nephew is still on active service and another niece and nephew are veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan battles. Many of us are still damaged from our service even though none are homeless or incapable of working. Still, I know too many other veterans who are mentally ill and homeless because of it. I work with local churches and food banks to help them as I can and it is a privilege to serve them.

    None of us regret our service to our country and I would suggest that all Americans serve their country in some way. It doesn’t have to be in the military – the Peace Corps, Americorp or even just volunteering for your community. It is just such an attitude of giving that will save our country and bring us back from fear, resentments and anger. God bless all of us, veterans and those who wait for them to come home!


  5. Thanks to your military heroes and to mine – my dad, who earned 2 purple hearts in WWII. And, although there is a VERY LONG WAY to go, may I say that many of the Veterans’ Homes and Hospitals are doing the best they can. My cousin was well taken care of in the CT Veterans’ Home for 20 years. He passed away last week, and the staff and fellow vets were wonderful friends to him.

  6. As a person who suffers from PTSD, not from combat but from raising a violent mentally ill child, I understand the impact it has only daily life. There is such a need for accessible mental health care in this country, it is sickening. Especially for those who have risked not just their physical but emotional well-being for our safety.

  7. Our veteran’s deserve our best support. I didn’t realize so many were homeless…I need to do better. Thanks for the post! I learned something new from the comments today.

  8. Thank you for posting these facts and photos. I am remembering my father who clearly was suffering PTSD without it having a name, and my uncle who served for his whole life and whom I had a wonderful experience visiting war memorial cemataries with him in Italy in 2004.

  9. Thanks goes out to the veterans today and also to those who support them or lost those they love. The sacrifices made by those not in uniform are just as poignant, we salute you as well.

  10. I once asked a friend who had been in the army (and suffered rape and PTSD) whether she thought “Thank you for your service” meant anything real or was just a pat phrase like “Have a nice day.” She replied, ” I always just say,’It was my honor.'” Good answer.

  11. What a kind tribute and fabulous photos of your dad and grandpa. I’m always a little misty on Veteran’s Day and am blessed to call dear friends and family members heroes, too. Thank you!!

  12. I love the black and white photos you shared. I used to spend time with lots of vets through the hospice I worked for. Some of their stories were heart-breaking. I used to get so mad at how the VA would jack them around about paying for basic benefits, little things we take for granted. Remember one old man who survived the storming of the beaches of Normandy. Except he had early stages of dementia and couldn’t remember the exact details and was just saying that he and hundreds of others fought a terrible battle on this beach in France. “Normandy” I said excitedly. “Yeah, I think that was the name of it” he replied. Later, his caregiver confirmed that he’d been in both Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. I felt like I was talking to a celebrity, but he said it was just part of his duty. I’ll never forget Mr. Soldier at the Summer Willow retirement home.

  13. our Cub Scout pack was able to walk in the Veterans Day parade today, and I had the pleasure of joining them. As I walked I would get choked up. You would see all the veterans I the side of the road , some of whom are homeless and live down town. It really saddens me that this has happened to people that were brave enough to fight for our country. I would never have the guts to get out there and do what they do. Everyone needs to stop and thank veterans, not just on Veterans Day but everyday. Thank you for sharing those pics. And thank you Jenny for making me smile….. Your awesomeness adds happiness to my life!

  14. Thanks for the link at the end on how to help. I just shared it in a few more places to help get the word out. Proud Army mama here. 🙂

  15. Thank you to your father, Victor’s grandfather, and all of our veterans (my hubby being my favorite veteran). And thank you for bringing attention to a disturbing trend that needs correcting through the efforts & actions of all of us!

  16. I deliver meals to a veteran of WWII. He’s always the kindest, most interesting client on the route. He’s been all over over the course of his time in the military. He speaks something like five languages now. Listening to his stories is always a welcome pleasure. Breaks my heart that he’s all alone all day in a one-room apartment and can barely afford to feed himself.

  17. This is a lovely post. I really appreciate that you shared a link that leads to a place where people can take action and help.

    Thank you.

  18. The most insidious thing about PTSD, whether it comes about through war or other ways, is that it doesn’t just impact the individual, and without appropriate treatment, it gets passed down the generations.
    My paternal grandfather, grand uncle, and uncle fought in WW1 & WW2 respectively, and the impact is still being felt in the family three and four generations hence.
    It’s caused family rifts in multiple generations, contributed to other mental illness and addiction issues in my family, and I’m sure many others.

    Too often talk is of the sacrifice made by military service men and women who gave their lives in war, and not often enough is it appreciated that is some respects, families that lost a loved one in battle fared better than those that had damaged family members return from war changed in a way that no one anticipated.

    In our families case, it took until about a year ago for my father to admit to just a smidgen of the horrors my grandfather faced in war, in one paragraph of a letter, my father completely changed my attitude to my grandfather.
    I still remain estranged from my family, but I look at the experiences within my family in the current and previous generations in a different light because of this.

    I greatly admire all who did their part to protect their country, the freedom of others, and restore peace and democracy to the world in whatever way they did.
    It is a great shame that it has taken so long for PTSD to be recognized for what it is, and a tragedy that many more lives were lost or ruined for war service folk and their families through this horrible condition than were from death in battle.

    I have never served in war, or in the military, however the legacy of my family’s service in war is that I also suffer from PTSD – I was primed for it from birth, and through experiences in my life, and was unfortunate enough to be expose to enough triggers to suffer from this crippling condition.
    Bad enough that I have ASD, likely Bipolar, or some other condition, not to mention generic anxiety, but the PTSD I have to say is the hardest thing to live with.

    There is no comparison to anything else I have experienced that comes close to the feelings of paranoia, hyper-vigilance, anger management problems, and the tendency to freeze in stressful situations, or sometimes lash out unexpectedly, and with little provocation.

    I hope that in time PTSD will be better understood, better treated, and that steps will be taken to reduce its impact on society and families, both now and into the future, and that it will be accepted and understood better, rather than folk like myself being shunned for being difficult, short tempered, or uptight; no one chooses to be like this, and anyone going through this needs all the support they can get.

    I raised my concerns with a psychiatrist about this disorder and its impact on my life a couple of weeks ago, and will be seeing him again next week.
    It took me many years to realize that I have this condition, and quite some time to be comfortable enough to discuss it with a professional.
    I know that not all are so lucky, and that many are lost before they or others realize what’s wrong.

    Thanks Jenny for putting PTSD in the spotlight where it unfortunately, be necessarily needs to be.

  19. My grandfather used to say that the best set of clothes a man(or woman) ever owns is their service uniform. I hope they all wear them proudly today and always with our utmost respect and devotion.

  20. Thanks to our veterans.
    My Dad was a Marine, my brother in the Army throughout the first Gulf wat, my niece is in the National Guard and did a tour in Iraq, which separated her from her three year old son for about a year. Her father did a tour in Viet Nam. My brother’s oldest is in the Army about 18 months now. Proud of them all. Grateful to all Veterans past and present for their service. Thanks for this post Jenny.

  21. Thank you. As a veteran wife, I actually get really uncomfortable with many of these so-called patriotic days because it seems like people briefly pretend to care without actually addressing the needs of our troops & vets. I appreciate your gratitude but even more I appreciate that you include the issues they face and links on how to help.

    Side note- this is the first post of yours I’ve ever seen with less than at least 100 comments. Telling, I think.

  22. Thanks for posting this. Are you familiar with TexVet, that focuses on Texas veterans? Would love to tell you how Texas’ response to returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families was developed.

  23. Maybe you’ll feel better if you think of it this way, brittanyssp –today’s topic is just a bit too serious for our frivolous joking back & forth that often generates so many comments.

    If anyone reads this far — have you given any lessons to your next generation?

    I flew the flag, gave my third-grader a lesson in how to treat it properly, and we talked family history. My grandfather in WWI. My other grandfather who was too old to serve. My father in WWII. My great-aunt who was an army nurse. Her sister who was an army “calculator” on WWII research projects she would never discuss. HER son serving in a missile silo in the cold war. HIS son just back from Afghanistan. My brother in the Gulf War and Bosnia. We touched on the League of Nations, the Berlin Airlift, Sadam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, and the creation of India & Pakistan at the end of WWI. I reminded her that the (distant) cousin she met this summer is from England, who fought with us — and explained that my brother has just reconnected with cousins on our mother’s side who are about as close on the family tree — but who would have been on the OTHER side of WWI and WWII.

  24. I work directly across the street from a veteran’s cemetery, and every year they have an amazing, moving tribute on Veteran’s Day. It includes the 21-gun salute and fighter flyover. My Daddy is buried in that cemetery, and so he gets a little flag on his grave to honor his service.

    The industry that employs me actively recruits veterans, and I’m privileged to know (and adore) so many men and women who serve.

    Thank you seems inadequate, but it is heartfelt.

  25. Thank you for this lovely tribute, Jenny. The World Wars are so much closer here, and everyone was affected. The house across the street from us is newer because the one before it was bombed during the second world war. And my husband’s aunts climbed up the stone wall to their house and watched the German soldiers walk by until their terrified mother told them to get down immediately. I’m very grateful for our veterans.

  26. Thank you for posting this, so many people just see this as either a normal day or shopping sale day. So many people willing to give so much, they deserve better.

  27. PTSD. Can you flippin’ imagine what they see while at war? I cannot. They all have my respect.

  28. I accidently ended up being a part of a veterans ceremony last week in Lecco, a town off Lake Como in Italy. I was sitting looking at the lake and all of a sudden I was surrounded by military people, students and a brass band. Turns out I was sitting next to the town’s war memorial. It was great. I didn’t understand a word that was said, but it was very solemn. I was a cub scout leader for 5 years and am still a girl scout leader (5th year). We march in every Memorial Day parade and have many meetings about care and keeping of our flag. Our church sends letters and goodies to current military members. My daughter actually got the nicest letter back once.

  29. One thing that’s quite amazing about living in England is how close WWII still is here. I live in Bristol which was heavily bombed during the war. One big central park used to be suburbs. There are several ruined churches left as memorials. There are whole streets visable on the hill which were rebuilt after being destroyed by bombs.

    New Zealand gave a generation of young men (thankfully both my grandfathers survived active service), but England’s cities were devastated.

  30. Unfortunately, some of those veterans give in to those hauntings that happen to them when Veteran’s Day rolls around every year. This year was no exception. He was a principal to my child and others.He was well respected and alwys had a kind word, loving heart and a happy smile or joke for all the children and co-workers he had on a daily basis. And yet, this year, he went home for lunch and took his life. Please remind all veterans you come across, whether you know their circumstances or not, that they matter. More than they realize. Please say a prayer or whatever you do for the family of this man and all the extended family he probably didn’t realize he had.

  31. Thank you Jenny for another beautiful post I hope you clicked on the color-corrected photo of your father that Stan Malcolm #31 posted. It was beautiful.

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