11-11-11 – Today is Veterans Day.
Wikipedia tells us:
“Veterans Day is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world and falls on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.
Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.”
Wow! I certainly did not know about “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.“
So, it certainly is a fitting day for a parade!
This site gives us the Veteran’s Day Parade specs, some of which I will copy here:
* The Veterans Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. and lasts until 2 p.m.
* The Veterans Day Parade begins on Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street, and continues north along Fifth Avenue to 56th Street.
* There are a variety of marchers, floats and marching bands in the Veterans Day Parade. Participants include active officers, various veteran’s groups, junior ROTC members, and the families of veterans. The 2011 parade includes 27 active military units from all branches, six Medal of Honor recipients, veterans groups and high school bands from around the nation.
* The Veterans Day Parade has been organized in New York since 1929. Over 25,000 people participate in the Veterans Day Parade in New York City each year, making it the largest in the nation. The Veterans Day commemoration begins with a wreath laying ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Eternal Flame in Madison Square Park with the parade beginning at 11 a.m.
On a related but very serious note, a friend of mine has a son who came back from the war in Iraq. He suffers from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and he and his family have suffered many consequences due to PTSD. Please watch their story here.
I asked my friend if there was anything that I and other civilians could do to help. She replied:
“Write your elected officials and tell them that so many of our young soldiers are returning from war with mental issues, and that there needs to be more funding for jail diversion programs and veteran’s courts. There has to be a study done to actually see how many of these kids are coming home bearing unseen wounds and end up in prison. I know of many, but the actual numbers aren’t documented (no one is counting.) There need to be federal and state bills allowing them to be diverted into treatment instead of incarceration, or at least turned over to the V.A. (provided they have served during a war and have mental health issues.) The V.A. is underfunded and under-staffed, and they need enough money to keep up with all of the current conflict veterans who come home, let alone all of the ones from Nam. etc. Did you know that there is no counseling for families of these vets? Our kids are just thrown at us with serious mental health issues, and we are supposed to know what is wrong, how to cope with them, and help them? It is very stressful, but we are not given any help. The key to change is education. The general public has no idea what it is like for these young men and their families when they come home. Most folks don’t care, unless it touches their lives in some way. Elected officials and court officials must know, too. They are the ones who have the power to change the way the system is treating our boys when they come home.”
PLEASE, read her suggestions above and take this to heart, tomorrow and every day.
Perhaps, copy and paste her words into web messages, snail mails or faxes to your elected officials.
You can also reach out to Michelle Obama, on her Facebook page or sending a letter to:
Washington, DC 20500
My prayers go out to my friend’s family, and all military families.