With Veterans Day approaching, it is very fitting that I present to you guest blogger Marcelle Leis, who was recently promoted to the newly created position of Director of Veteran Services. Ms. Leis was previously Program Director of the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project, a program of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness (MHAW) and Suffolk County United Veterans (SCUV). She now manages and oversees all Veterans related programs for MHAW including SCUV.
by Marcelle Leis, M.S.
CMSgt (Ret), USAF/ANG
1989 – 2013
The history of Veterans Day began on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. An armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as “the Great War.”
What does Veterans Day means to the people of this great nation today? Every year on November 11, Americans take a day to celebrate all United States military service members that answered the call, regardless of where and when they served. This is not to be confused with Memorial Day, where we somberly reflect on those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice, or Armed Forces Day when we thank those currently serving in our U.S. military.
As the leader of our agency’s Veteran Service programs, every day is Veterans Day in our world. We are entering another year of unrest around the globe and our service members continue to selflessly put their lives on the line. Please take a minute of your time to remember someone you may know who served our country with pride and dignity. Call a friend or family member you know and tell them “good job.” Stop someone if you see them in the community wearing their uniform and thank them for what they do. The support is appreciated!
November 11 is not about a certain war in history. It’s not about a battle fought. It’s not about statistics. It’s not about who did what. And it’s not about hating the enemy. It’s so much more than that. It’s about honor, freedom, selfless sacrifice, and courage. Service is their job, and taking care of our comrades is a mission that lasts beyond our military service time.
So let’s remember that men and women are still fighting and giving their lives for peace in the world. And for many, when they return to U.S. soil, the battle may not be over.
If you know a Veteran that may be struggling, please share the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1. For more information on the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project, call 631-853-8345 or check them out on Facebook.