With Memorial Day weekend upon us, many of us are looking to finally kick off the summer season, relax and have some fun. Between all of the local events going on and the backyard BBQs, there are a lot of choices for the holiday weekend. But try not to lose sight of the real reason why we celebrate this weekend.
Let us remember to celebrate the lives of all those who fought for our country’s freedom. Try and take a visit to one of the cemeteries of those who perished and place flowers on the graves. Remember to thank a veteran for the time he or she served. And make an effort to help out the survivors of the families who lost a loved one during war and are struggling to survive both mentally and financially.
My grandfather is a veteran of World War II, having served as a sailor aboard the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Bunker Hill (CV-17). After the war, he suffered tremendously from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and still suffers today, nearly 65 years later. One of his memories consists of running for his life after being bombed while stepping over dead crew mates. Yet, like other servicemen, after the war he had to come home, be a man, and try to live a normal life. He wasn’t diagnosed with PTSD until 1997, 51 years after he served. Many times our soldiers don’t talk about their experiences for fear of bringing up strong emotions within themselves or burdening others with their own tragic memories.
We all know a solider, a veteran, or someone who served in a war. It is important to thank them when you see them. We often see someone with a war hat while shopping or out on an errand; stop and say hello to them. Back in the 1940s, men didn’t have a choice, they had to serve, they fought for our freedom whether they wanted to or not. These days we have many brave people who voluntarily sign up to fight for our country. These are honorable young men and women so make sure to let them know they are appreciated.
Coming up on June 6, there will be a Veterans Benefit Day in Galloway at the Veterans National Park from noon-4pm. This family event is brought to you by the Rolling Thunder Chapter 4-New Jersey. There will be food, music, pony rides, vendors and a Chinese auction. Plus all funds raised will go to help out local veterans. Rolling Thunder Inc. is a non-profit organization working hard to help all veterans in need, so any help is greatly appreciated. Visit rollingthundernj-4.org.
On a related note, a wonderful person by the name of Susanne Kerrigan-Sacchetti is a proud local military wife and wanted to show appreciation to our troops during the month of May (a.k.a. Military Appreciation Month). She decided to start an annual chocolate chip cookie collection where the cookies are not only sent to deployed troops, but are distributed to troops based in America as well. She got the idea from a Web site she saw that states that May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. (Who knew?)
She sent out invites and requested the help of her friends, family members and other community members to bake chocolate chip cookies and bring them to her by May 15. With this first event — dubbed the Chip In 4 Our Troops Project — she received over 1,400 cookies. She is looking to turn this into a non-profit organization and will need your help for next year’s event. Check out chipin4ourtroops.com for more information.
Finally, Barry Campbell is a great advocate for veterans. He formed the Veterans Quality of Life Access Network. Check out his Web site at vqlan.org.
Enjoy your weekend everyone! Have fun, be safe, and, most importantly, thank a veteran!
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.