Today is a special day.
At 10:00 a.m. there is a ceremony welcoming home Veterans of Vietnam and the Vietnam era. I’m honored to attend this special occasion which will be at the Marion VA Behavioral Health Building.
Sam and his Peer Support co-workers put together this event last year. It was very heartwarming to see Veterans walk in to a room decorated beautifully. There were cards, letters, pictures, and thank you notes from various students across southern Illinois classrooms. Each Veteran was able to take at least one to two of those home with them, a very special reminder that they are remembered and appreciated.
I think one of my favorite things about this event is seeing Veterans come together. If you ever get the chance to sit down with a Veteran and listen to their stories, I urge you to really listen. When Veterans open up and talk about their military experiences we can really learn a lot from that experience or memory–and that is so very important.
Sam asked me to help with this event again this year. I was honored and excited. I decided to reach out (via social media, thanks Facebook) and see if any of my teacher friends would want to help with this event. I asked teachers if their students could make cards, letters, signs, or write thank you notes. They came through, majorly.
I was so touched by the generosity of our friends who are willing to make a group of Veterans feel welcome and at home…after a long battle. These small gestures of pictures, cards, and notes will mean more to these Veterans than they will know.
If you are a local to southern Illinois and you are a Vietnam Veteran (or Vietnam Era Veteran), please come out to the Marion VA (Behavior Health Building). From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be a 50th commemorative ceremony. Veterans will receive a pin, a coin, and will be able to take a letter, card, or picture in addition to having some delicious snacks. This is just a small way for a grateful nation to thank and honor all Vietnam Era Veterans.