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MEGAN MONDAY: Veterans Day – A Time for Thanks and Reflection

on November 11, 2013

veterans dayMegan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach.
Several times throughout the year, I like to take a break from my usual health & nutrition features to focus on other important topics, and with today being Veterans Day here in the U.S., I would be remiss to not take the opportunity to honor and thank those who dedicate and have dedicated their lives to serving our nation as uniformed servicemen and women. I understood at a young age that Veterans Day is not just an extra Monday off per year for some people; with both grandfathers, a grandmother, uncles, aunts, my dad, husband, and numerous friends having and continuing to serve in the military, I have a profound respect for those who have ever earned to wear a uniform. I know there are individuals out there who view war and war preparation as a negative facet to life, and I myself am not a proponent for war at all, but political views aside, the bottom line is we have and have had the luxury in this nation of individuals who put their county and its people before themselves, which I find honorable. I think this is an important lesson to teach to our children, if anything, to really have them understand why they may have a day off from school or know what it is like to live without many comforts of home for prolonged periods of time in the name of defense of others.
No matter the degree of patriotism any of us may hold, I think we should all be cognizant of all of the Veterans, past and present, and those still serving and just take a moment to say “thanks.” Each and every one of these individuals holds a story unique to his or her experiences – some desirable, honorable, sad, traumatic, humble, or unexplainable. Some of these soldiers come back with physical and/or mental battle wounds that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. I learned some of the greatest lessons of challenging myself, perseverance, work ethic, and honor from the Veterans close to me in my life; it was through their stories of sights and experiences they saw through their time serving that really gave me a clear glimpse of how fortunate we are. While nothing is perfect, and never will be, we need to take the time to stop, reflect, and be grateful for all that we have – and that came at the expense of something and someone somewhere down the line.
One thing I find fascinating with each passing Veterans Day is how young many of our Veterans are. When I was a child, my vision of a Veteran was someone older who had fought in World War I or II; today, there are more and more young Veterans who have served tours of duty starting as early as their 18th year of life. With so many young veterans in our country, it’s important to note that many of them need great support in all areas of their life to help with the transition of having served during a time that is very different than our elders.
I had a conversation with some of the children in my neighborhood about Veterans Day and some of them knew what it was about, but many of them didn’t; they had not even spoke about it in school, which I found disheartening simply for the fact that these children are unaware of a component of what makes our nation and people great. I understand that is not the case everywhere, but I find with each passing year, less and less attention is paid to those who work behind the scenes to protect our nation domestically and abroad.
Here are some basic facts and pieces of info regarding Veterans Day that you may find helpful in discussing with your children and/or loved ones, in addition to some ways to say thanks to and support those who put you before themselves:
By definition, Veterans Day (SOURCE: Wikipedia):
Veterans Day is an official United States holiday which honors people who have served in armed service also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.)
Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.[1]
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”[2]

Ideas to honor Veterans Day:
– Fly the American flag!
– Wear red, white, and blue
– Make a donation to a Veterans’ association that supports services to Vets (i.e. DAV – Disabled American Veterans, Wounded Warrior Foundation, Care for Disabled Veterans, even check out your local VAFW hall)
– Writing letters to soldiers: http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/veterans-day/packages-from-home.html
– Teaching about Veterans Day and tons of fun activities for kids: http://militaryfamily.about.com/od/holidays/a/Teaching-Kids-About-Veterans-Day.htm

– Activities to do on Veterans Day to show your support: http://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/teaching-kids-about-veterans-day-resources-and-ideas.html

– Video interview of a Veteran: http://www.meetmeatthecorner.org/episode/veterans-day-for-kids-interview-with-tuskegee-airman

– Celebrate Veterans Day with your children: http://www.military.com/veterans-day/celebrate-veterans-day.html

– Ways to support Veterans: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/veterans-day-how-to-help_n_2095945.html

– Supporting troops and veterans: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/mind-soul/doing-good/kindness/post/2011/11/How-to-support-our-troops-this-Veterans-Day-2010/8106/1
http://localfresh.biz/2013/11/07/veterans-post/
– Ways to make Veterans Day more meaningful: http://theveteranssupport.org/blog/10-ways-make-veterans-day-more-meaningful

– Help those who need extra support: http://www.carefordisabledveterans.org

– Healthy Veterans Day-inspired recipes: http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/5-healthy-patriotic-recipes-celebrate-veterans-day
http://www.carefordisabledveterans.org/blog/patriotic-recipes-for-a-veterans-day-picnic.cfm

Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach and Owner/Founder of Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching. Megan educates and empowers women, men, and children of all ages to learn the true ins-and-outs of “feeding the brain with knowledge about the best foods and habits for one’s body” in order to reach optimal health and wellness potentials. Visit her website today to learn more: http://www.exponentialhealthandwellness.us or feel free to send her an e-mail at: megan@empowerhealthcoach.com.

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