Veteran’s Day 2012

Thorny invited me, Alec, to stop in and write a blog post for Veteran’s Day. First, I’ll give up some background for those of you who don’t know me.

I became a Marine at 18 and was discharged after an IED took my leg and two of my buddies in 2011. My recovery took a long time and was hampered by infections, depression, and post-traumatic stress. By the winter of 2011, I had admitted myself to rehab for alcohol abuse after I confessed to my mother that I’d had thoughts of suicide. This year has been 100% improved. Rehab began my true recovery, AA and counseling help as I need them, and my relationship with Jazz’s younger brother Carter is a godsend of love and support on a daily basis. I would not be here today without the support I’ve received since coming home.

To me, Veteran’s Day is a reminder for those who haven’t served to take a little time to appreciate those who have. None of us do it for the recognition, but being recognized in some way lets us know we matter and aren’t forgotten or taken for granted. On Memorial Day, we remember the fallen; on Veteran’s Day we remember those who are still here. Today’s an opportunity to not only thank a service member, but to give back to them.

If you know a service member, you could ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them today. If you don’t know someone personally, here are some places where you can help on a larger scale:

Wounded Warrior Project whose mission it is to honor and empower wounded warriors by raising awareness and enlisting the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members; helping injured service members aid and assist each other; and providing unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

AnyMarine.com which connects those wishing to send care packages with those in combat areas wishing to receive them. READ EVERYTHING on this site prior to choosing your Marine because there are rules for what to send and how to send it. If you want to correspond with your Marines, I recommend sending to a Marine who’s updated their page recently, otherwise it’s possible they don’t have time to reply back to you. (Yes, you can choose Army, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard if you really want to.) If you can’t afford to send something yourself, get a group together at work, church, etc. and send something that way. I’m still in touch with a lovely bunch of ladies in Wisconsin who sent me and my men 14 care packages during 2 deployments.

Fisher House Foundation provides housing for military families to stay near their service member while they undergo medical treatment at the major military medical centers. If you’ve heard of the Ronald McDonald House, this is basically the same thing; families can stay free of charge in a group home while their service member undergoes medical care. Since some treatments are very specialized, families often have to travel pretty far to reach one of these centers and can’t afford to also pay for a hotel stay. Instead, they stay in a Fisher House. My parents were able to visit me more easily twice because they stayed in a Fisher House.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society – “The mission of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is to provide, in partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps, financial, educational, and other assistance to members of the Naval Services of the United States, eligible family members, and survivors when in need; and to receive and manage funds to administer these programs.” Basically, they’re there for veterans and their family members in emergency situations. The site doesn’t look like much, but they do what they say.

Bob Woodruff Foundation invests in programs connecting service members to the help they need when they get home for things like job training, career placement, and counseling for substance abuse, homelessness and suicide prevention. They also try to educate the public about these needs and the fact that no veteran should ever be forgotten (they actually refer to us as heroes). Maybe most importantly, they work with key federal, state, and local experts to identify and solve issues related to returning service members struggling to transition to civilian life.

And, of course, you can always stop one of us, smile, and say “thank you for your service.” We might even accept a hug. :)

42 thoughts on “Veteran’s Day 2012

  1. Thank you for posting this, Alec, it’s good to hear from you again :) And thank you for your service. I often hesitate to say that because the words are so small compared to the enormity of the the service itself, but it is heartfelt for all the brevity. Thank you.

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    • Cris, the words might be small but when you mean them the sentiment behind them is huge.

      To all of you who said “thank you” please know I do appreciate it.

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  2. Thank you for your service. (((hugs)))

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  3. Thank you for your service Alec. I am going shopping at the commissary on Friday with my Dad. He is a Korean War veteran. I cry everytime we go because the younger servicemen we come into contact with never fail to thank him for his service. It is a selfless job that you did, but we appreciate it more than we can say.

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    • Give your dad some thanks from me too, tmadamski. I have to say I love talking to the older vets at the VA because there’s a lot of wisdom there.

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  4. Alec, thank you for all you did then and still do now in looking out for those still deployed. I was raised in a military family (dad – 20 years – Go Army Beat Navy) and understand what the servicemen and their families live with everyday.
    However, I had not considered sending care packages to an unknown marine, but now I want to and will utilize your link to get started.
    You are an inspiration and I appreciate you!

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    • Update: I found a marine from Oregon, based out of N.C, currently in Afghanistan. I will be shopping for their care package today. Thanks so much for the link Alec, I am hopeful that my package will make at least one person feel appreciated.

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      • That’s great, Susan65! I’m glad you’ve found some Marines to shop for and I know they’ll appreciate whatever you can send. Feel free to ask what they want too and write a letter with all the “boring” things you’re sure they don’t want to hear about — they DO want to hear normal life stuff and there are those who don’t get communication from anyone who’ll love your letters.

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  5. Thank you for your service, Alec. And thank you for posting those wonderful resources for those of us wishing to say thank you in a more tangible way. Glad to hear you’re doing well. It’s wonderful to hear from you again!

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  6. Your sacrifice, like that of so many other soldiers, is humbling. It’s wonderful to hear of the progress you’ve made. Keep on keeping on, Alec — with your recovery and especially with Carter. And let’s hope and pray other vets have happy endings too.

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  7. A great post, Alec – thanks so much for your service, and for listing other organizations we can contribute to (the Wounded Warrior Project and Bob Woodruff’s foundation aren’t new to me, but the others were).

    You deserve all the support and love that surrounds you, and I wish the same for all of the returning ‘warriors.’ Here’s hoping that they are reunited with their families sooner rather than later.

    Thanks again.

    (((((Alec)))))

    [well, this is best I can do, hug-wise. But I suspect that you are fully supplied on the real-life massive hugs.]

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  8. This is a wonderful post, Alec, and it is so great to hear from you again. I do thank you for your service, and am happy that you have received the love and support that you needed to help in your recovery. I definitely plan to contact AnyMarine.com. Thank you so much for bringing this and the other organizations to our attention. Thank you.

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  9. Thank you so much for your service and for the sacrifices you made, Alec. It was great to hear from you again. Glad you are doing well. :) Take care.

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  10. Hi Alec, it’s good to hear things are going well with you.

    Here in the UK we have two minutes silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, which was the time the armistice ended World War One. The silence is to remember those killed and injured in battle. All the many battles since ‘the war to end all wars’. We buy paper poppies to wear and the money collected goes to The British Legion which supports members of the armed forces and their families. The poppies are a reminder of the poppies which bloomed among the mud and the blood of Flanders.

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 

    Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
    
 At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    
 We will remember them.

    From ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon

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  11. Thank you for your service, Alec. (((((((((((((hug)))))))))))))

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  12. Thank you for your service, Alec and Happy Birthday, Marine (sorry, day late :).

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  13. Thank you for sharing your story and for making it easy for others to find ways to help. Most of all, thank you for all that you’ve given to serve this country. Be strong! You are loved and appreciated. *hugs*

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  14. Thank you for this – it’s good to see you posting again. Hope life is treating you and Carter well.
    Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day fell on the same day this year (in the UK) – I made it to the service at the local war memorial this morning. Very moving to see the young cadets together with the veterans. And nice to see so many people wearing poppies.

    Thank you again. Hugs.

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  15. Thank you for posting this and thank you for your service. I was raised in the military life so I can appreciate all the sacrifices made. Thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough.

    *hugs*

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  16. Alec, it’s an honor to “meet” you here. I’m so happy you came out of the dark time. In Canada we’ve been wearing our poppies for a few weeks. Today we visited my 97 year old grandpa who served in WW2. He’s still sharp as a tack but physically fragile. My grandma gave birth & lost a baby while he was gone & he didn’t know till he came home. He’s lived a long & happy life & I wish you the same.

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  17. And yes, you are an inspiration.

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  18. From one vet to another, thank you for your service. I’ve had my own battles with issues while I served. Without the support of others it would have definitely been tough. Continue to fight the good fight brother. Take it easy….

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  19. Thank you, Alec, and all your brothers and sisters in arms. (((((hugs))))

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  20. Thank you for your service – although to quote the Rabbi who was at the Canadian national services this morning – thank you dear veterans!
    Yes, a rabbi is represented at the Canadian memorial, as are the First Nations (part of the service is done in english, french and cree), but the rabbi always has a point to make and this year, he called on everyone at the memorial in our capital to say thank you right then and there rather than wait. It was pretty cool.
    My parents grew up during WWII, so I was always taught to respect this day and all the people who contribute to it – one day is not often enough to appreciate anyone in service.
    I’m glad you are doing better and have the love you deserve, Jazz and his family sound pretty amazing!
    Take care, and (((hugs))).
    :)

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