Friday, November 11, 2011

Nurture Your Family - Salute Our Veterans

U.S. Troops wading through water and Nazi gunfire to reach Omaha Beach on D-Day.  Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. 
Several weeks ago I was in Normandy, France with my husband and we spent a lot of time visiting various World War II battle sites, cemeteries and museums.  One of the most moving places we visited was Omaha Beach, where U.S. troops landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944.  (the landing site famously depicted in the movie Saving Private Ryan.)  Standing on this now pristine beach, looking at the German sniper positions still carved into the mountain, we were both moved to tears.  I was overwhelmed by the sacrifice so many young men made on this beach, their bravery in the face of death, and their dedication to our country and the security of the rest of the world.

A photo of Omaha Beach I took a few weeks ago.  If you would like to learn more about the men who fought during WW II, check out Band of Brothers and The Pacific on HBO On Demand.  They are accurate accounts of both the Pacific and European fronts based on interviews with the veterans who are portrayed in both series. 

Unlike World War II, which ultimately mobilized our entire country and much of the world, the war now being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq by our brave soldiers is sometimes controversial and doesn't even make front page news most days.  But the men and women currently serving overseas have the same dedication, bravery and commitment as the men who stormed those beaches in 1944 and we all can do something to recognize their sacrifice.

Why not take the time today to honor a veteran - if you have a family member or friend who is a veteran, call them or simply send them an email to thank them.  Almost all of us have a connection to someone who has served at some point, you just may not know it.  Talk to your extended family and learn about your family connection to the incredible military history of our country.  Another way to honor them is to  take a few minutes this weekend and write a letter to one of the many men and women who are overseas, far away from the comforts of our everyday lives. You can find simple directions here at  I wasn't surprised to learn that letters are the most requested item by active service members.  If you have children, get them involved - have them draw a picture, write their own letter, or dictate one to you.  I guarantee this small gesture will make you feel better than you have in a long time.

The grave of an unknown solider in the American Cemetery in Normandy, France. 

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