This Veterans Day, millions of active duty, reserve and retired military veterans across the United States and overseas will be honored for their dedication, sacrifices and bravery on behalf of the nation.
Celebrated on Wednesday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day is a time to thank those men and women for their service and to give respect to all those who have worn the uniform.
“Only a very small percentage of the American population signed their names on that dotted line and said they would give their life for this country and for the people that are in it,” said Shane Whitecloud, outreach specialist with the Veterans Resource Centers of America. “Whatever their reasons may be for doing so, they did it. They stepped forward, and they put their name on that line and said ‘I would give my life for all of you.’ That is huge. I think they should be thanked on a daily basis. But this is definitely their day.”
Last year, the Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center provided assistance and resources to more than 750 veteran families in Northern Nevada. HHHonoring the sacrifices that these men, women and their families have made and saying “thank you” is one of many ways to show appreciation.
“If you pass somebody and they’ve served, don’t just walk past them,” Whitecloud said. “Take the time to say ‘thank you.’ They’ve done such a huge thing, and people downplay it. It’s worth the recognition of saying thank you.”
Katie Leach, a Navy veteran and office manager for the Reno Vet Center, said Veterans Day is an important day to remember the veterans who have served and those who are still serving in the military.
“I think we all still need to remember that there are still people serving,” Leach said. “That is important. We all still need to stay together as one nation and remember those that have gone before us and those that are still serving.”
Leach served 11 years in the Navy and was a part of Operation Enduring Freedom. She says that Veterans Day may mean something different to each veteran, and hearing “thank you” helps veterans feel appreciated for their service to the country.
“I feel appreciative because it shows that people really care about what you are actually doing when you do serve,” Leach said. “I think each generation of veterans, it means so much more and especially [to] our Vietnam vets. I think when people say ‘thank you’ to them, it means a lot because they weren’t always thanked, which is so different from my generation because I feel like people respect what we have done. But I think it means probably more to our Vietnam vets.”
According to Danny Waldrop, a Navy veteran who served from 1963-1984, service members returning home from the Vietnam were not treated well because of the growing opposition to the war.
“It was a very unpopular war, and they treated us rather badly,” Waldrop said. “So now people are beginning to show the appreciation for what we did, and it’s very, very welcome to us.”
Veterans Day is also a celebration of the bonds that veterans have made with each other.
“It’s a band of brothers and sisters that have given of themselves for the service of this country,” Waldrop said. “It’s a family because we understand what each other has gone through.”
As a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and the National Uniformed Services, Waldrop understands how good it feels for veterans to be recognized.
“Whenever you run into a veteran, all you have to do is say ‘thank you for your service,’ because we are doing it for you,” Waldrop said. “This is a volunteer thing. We don’t have a draft anymore. All the veterans who you see that are in uniform have sacrificed themselves and their families to serve this country, and they deserve that appreciation.”