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Ways to honor our nation's heroes

As you're firing up the grill and enjoying extra time with your family and friends on Memorial Day, it can be easy to forget why you're afforded this extra R&R. Memorial Day — and Veteran's Day — are two national holidays to remember, honor and pay tribute to our nation's heroes who served our country. Here are a few ways you can recognize veterans: 

Encourage a veteran to share their story. If you know a veteran who is willing to discuss their experience — listen! Preserve their story for generations to come by helping them create a scrapbook.

Educate yourself on the service-related illnesses. Often, veterans can return home with service-related health issues, some not surfacing until the end of life. All military service is different, which provides unique experiences to each veteran who served. Be aware and educate yourself about:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that leaves the veteran feeling confused and angry. Mentally reliving a traumatic event that occurred while serving can peak at different times. Sometimes, it isn't until years after that a veteran's suffering begins.
  • Substance use disorder can be a result of veterans attempting to cope with stress, nightmares and other problems.
  • Aches and pains are reported by many veterans post-deployment and pain management can be a daily challenge.
  • Survivor's guilt even if a veteran did not deploy or serve with his or her unit, many can experience a sense of guilt for surviving while others died. 

Recognize their sacrifice. Place flowers and flags on veterans' graves, volunteer your time in honor of those who've served, or simply say "thank you." These seemingly small gestures can show a veteran their service does not go unnoticed back at home.


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