How Can We Thank Our Veterans?

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

During the month of November we focus on the great service that veterans have given to our country. I think one of the most neglected groups of people in our society is our veterans. There are some great groups that are trying to correct this. I’m proud to be part of one of them – the National Leadership Center for Excellence. Visit their website at to learn more about this organization.

So many veterans today are mistreated. I can’t imagine what veterans who returned from the Vietnam War had to endure. They put their lives on the line and then had to come home and face many people who didn’t appreciate the fact that they were serving their country.

It goes on today. While doing research to prepare this blog I discovered so many ugly, profane, degrading statements about our veterans. I don’t think they represent but a small percentage of Americans – but that’s too many! Veterans don’t need to hear that. We need positive, encouraging, appreciative, helpful attitudes and words for our veterans!

George Washington addressed his soldiers before the Battle of Long Island, the first major battle after America declared our independence. He said, “The time is now near at hand which most probably will determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves… The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”

We are the recipients of the commitment of so many veterans past, present, and future. Don’t let the emphasis on Veterans just slip by you. What can we do to help?

One suggestion is what a little 8-year old girl, Ella Scott, did. She was sitting with her dad in a Monterey, California restaurant. She saw a homeless man outside. She thought he might be hungry so she carried him a plate of food. Her dad took out his phone and posted a video on Facebook of this heartwarming gesture. It was viewed by more than 44 million people, including the homeless man’s sister, Roseanne Salkowski. You see, her brother is a veteran with PTSD. He disappeared 6 months earlier. She was overjoyed to discover that he was still alive! This made possible her reuniting with him. Eddy Scott, Ella’s father said, “What Ella did touched so many people.” Touch a veteran’s life today!

Many veterans say that the best way to thank them for their service is to “Vote.” Veterans encourage us to volunteer in the community and try to make a difference and vote for what we believe is right. Many veterans feel they can be honored by ensuring that their voice is heard at the ballot box.

One Navy veteran said, “If you’re not using your constitutionally-granted rights, like the right to vote in our democracy, then what was I fighting for?” Our veterans fought to protect our rights and freedoms.

One former Marine communication specialist, James Lindley, came back to the Seattle area and became a mortician. He discovered that there were many unclaimed remains of dozens of indigent servicemen. He started to embalm them and be sure that they were laid to rest with full military honors. He himself had suffered from depression and PTSD, but he decided to do something for himself and for veterans.

Prayerfully consider what you can do for veterans – and do it!


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