Fulfilling a Fundamental Obligation to Our Veterans

Written by: Denise Doring VanBuren, President General
November 11, 2019

November 11 is the day set aside on our national calendar to honor our veterans – a solemn pause from the rush of life to thank the men and women who have worn the uniform of our nation in order to protect our freedoms.  I thank you for recognizing them – and I only wish that more Americans would also take the time to do the same.

Like all of you, I am proud of a family history that stretches back to the founding of our nation and includes successive generations who answered the call. My father served as a navigator in the U.S. Navy during World War II, while my six uncles volunteered for various branches of the Armed Forces. When I was a child in the 1960s, you didn’t have to ask if your classmate’s father had served – you asked if he had been in the Army? Air Force? Marines? As a result of this seemingly universal shared military family experience, we participated in communal rites of recognition for our veterans, and we respected neighbor after neighbor who had served with distinction in the far-off places we were taught about in history class. Veterans were a part of the fabric of our community, and honoring them was every citizen’s duty each November.

Though there are about 18 million veterans now living in the United States, society as a whole doesn’t seem to pay the same respect to those who served as it did when the World War II generation returned to start families, build communities and power the post-war economy. Yet, recognizing their service can be as easy as wearing a poppy, flying a flag, attending a local ceremony or simply saying thank you.

The ability to honor these courageous men and women is one of the many reasons that I find so much fulfillment as a member of the DAR – especially because we don’t wait to thank our veterans just once a year. When we take time to volunteer at VA medical centers, when we attend funerals for those who have no one else to mourn their passing and when we donate care items to these men and women, we fulfill a fundamental obligation to those who make possible our way of life. It not only feels good – it’s also the right thing to do.

I am so proud that our DAR Service to Veterans Committee encourages our participation in worthwhile programs to thank these men and women in ways large and small. Please visit the “Programs” tab of the committee page on the members’ website for suggestions about how your chapter can get involved. New in this administration is an effort to encourage your support of both Wreaths Across America and Honor Flights. We think these are two meaningful and visible ways that we can demonstrate our esteem for the brave Americans who were willing to risk all for our collective benefit.

We also hope that you will continue to take part in our effort to identify and thank Vietnam-era veterans in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of that war. All too often, these service personnel returned home to insults and anger from fellow Americans. We owe them a sincere expression of gratitude – and I am so proud of the chapters that have continued to seek them out for recognition. You may find more information on how you may get involved on the Commemorative Events Committee page of the members website. Please embrace this opportunity to thank our deserving Vietnam veterans, who volunteered or were drafted to fight an unpopular war. We owe that to them.

Finally, as a Blue Star mother, it is heartbreaking to me that so many of our veterans struggle with mental health and addiction issues. I ask that you pray for them and their families on this Veterans Day. I thank you for all that you do to support the veterans of every conflict who have served that the blessings of liberty would continue to be ours. There is no more important duty that we share as Daughters of the American Revolution.

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