Almost seven years ago, my extended family visited Washington D.C. for our family reunion. Nothing like seeing the Nation’s Capital with 93 other relatives.  At some point, I would like to do a post about why we visited – this was a pretty amazing trip!  But for today, I want to reflect on one of the most meaningful experiences I had while we were there.  One that forever changed how I view veterans.

One our stops on our tour about DC was the World War II Memorial.  At the time, the display had only been opened about 3 1/2 years, so it was still fairly new.  This December day was brisk, so we kept moving to try to see all that was involved.  I was trying to figure out a way to keep my then-three children engaged.  Our girl was easy since we just carried her around, but our five and 2 1/2 year olds were a bit trickier.

At one point, I noticed a man being pushed in a wheelchair.  He was wearing an armed services cap and taking in the memorial.  Feeling moved to see someone there for which the memorial was made, I walked over with our toddler.  With a little coaxing, he and I both said “Thank you for your service.”

With tears in his eyes, the man reached out with his gnarled hands and touched the tiny hands of my little one.  I can still hear his shaky voice in my head as he told my son “I did it for you.  I gladly did it for you.”  At this point, I was definitely in tears as I saw a picture of self-sacrifice in action.  In fact, I still cry and feel humbled when I remember seeing the honor in this man.

To all of the veterans out there, thank you.  While the word “hero” may be overused, that is what I feel each of you are.  True valor involves doing what you are called to do even in the face of danger.  Thank you is inadequate.

Watching Homecoming: The Impact on Nebraskans”   on NET public television reminded me that not everyone feels the way that I do toward veterans.  While war is never ideal, I do think those who serve should be commended.  If you have not had a chance to watch this show, I felt that it was very eye opening.  Thanks to the generosity of NET, I am able to give a copy away to one of my readers.  The contest ends next week – I will announce the winner either here or on my Odyssey Through Nebraska Facebook page when the contest is over.

To read the story of a veteran who has and will always impact my life, please read my post, My Grandpa, The Veteran on the “Good Life Moms” blog.  You also have two more opportunities to win the DVD there as well.

Iif you are a veteran, many places, especially eating establishments, across Nebraska and the country would like to thank you.   Here are just a few of the places around Lincoln …

Dino’s Eastside Grille (free meal for a veteran if accompanied by a guest – BOGO basically – you may want to confirm this one).

Culvers: Scoop of custard

Carlos O’Kellys: free sopapillas and coupon to come back for a free entree

Applebees: free meal for veterans

Omaha area events

National 2014 Veteran’s Day Freebies and Discounts found on Traveling Mom

While I did not post this in time for the free breakfast,  through November 16th, HyVee Grocery Store has the “Roundup for the Home Front” program going on.  If you round up your purchases to the nearest dollar, they are donating that change to various Veteran’s organizations.

Most importantly, please remember to thank those that you know who have served our country.  While they did not serve for the appreciation, I do know that being told “thank you” makes a difference!

P.S. If you are in the Lincoln area, you can celebrate veterans by visiting the Veterans Memorial Garden in Antelope Park.

Author: neodyssey