I recently came across an emotional and powerful video of a Vietnam Veteran returning home after his Honor Flight. Hundreds of active-duty men and women standing in silent salute lined up in dress uniform to greet him as he walked through the airport. As a fellow Veteran, it is very moving to see Vietnam Veterans finally being welcomed like the true American heroes that they have always been.
For those of you not familiar with Honor Flights, it is a wonderful program that transports our aging Veterans to Washington, DC to visit the memorials of the respective war(s) in which they fought.
Many Veterans never get the chance to visit these memorials which honor their courage and sacrifice. Honor Flights change that and bring veterans from each state and territory a unique chance to visit DC. I am proud to say that many of DCUC’s member credit unions support these programs.
While the program itself is incredible, what is even more incredible is seeing these Veterans being welcomed home. This is especially true for Vietnam Veterans. For so long, they and their service were maligned and scorned by very vocal and politically connected groups and institutions. It is incredible to see this attitude change.
You can see this same reaction in dozens of videos: Veterans being welcomed home by cheering crowds, by their military brothers and sisters, with the honor and dignity they deserved and were often denied. I hope all of our brave servicemembers are celebrated in such a way.
And while this homecoming celebration was delayed, it is still very meaningful and important. In fact, it reminds me that it is never too late to do the right thing by our veterans. A simple THANK YOU goes a long way.
As we approach Memorial Day, I want you all to consider how you are serving your military and veteran communities. While Memorial Day is about honoring our servicemembers that lost their lives, it is also important to remember and honor those that are still alive. How are you welcoming them home to your credit union?
- Do you have specific programs to meet the unique needs of the military community?
- Do you understand the ins and outs that come with military service?
If you need more ideas or are interested in the history of Memorial Day, I invite you to reach out to me and also to look at my CUInsight article from last year.
With that said, I wish you all a safe and peaceful Memorial Day. Also, if you ever see a Gold Star Mom, Spouse, or Family member, please be sure to thank and honor them. It means the world to these survivors to have their servicemembers remembered.