Ron Greenwood: ‘Tis the Season to Remember our Veterans
December is the season of giving. To those who much has been given, much is expected.
We celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the holidays with family and friends. This is the time of year when we reflect on how grateful we are for the blessings bestowed upon our families. We are also grateful to be living in the greatest country the world has ever known.
I am asking everyone this holiday season to remember our veterans. Post 9/11, only 1 percent of our people have served in the U.S. military during our two longest wars. America had a draft from the Civil War through the Vietnam War. The result of the draft was that everyone had a family member in service or knew someone in service.
That is not the case today. Many of our current veterans have served multiple tours in harm’s way. Many have served on more than 12 tours of duty. Too many children have grown up without a parent for more than half of their young lives. Today, we have personnel serving in the military who were not even born on 9/11.
You may have noticed as you collected your mail recently that many charities are sending you requests for their year-end funding. This year, I ask you to remember our local veterans in your charitable giving.
Winston Churchill said it best in World War II: “Never was so much owed, by so many, to so few.” The same is true today in America for our current military veterans. More has been asked of this generation of veterans than any other in our country’s history.
That is when our family decided to have everyone pick one name out of a hat and give only one gift to that family member. We put a dollar limit on that gift of $25. However, on the other side of that name was that family member’s favorite charity. There was no limit on the dollar amount we could give to that charity.
I hope many of you reading this column today, who do not need another sweater or gadget, consider adopting our family’s tradition as your own. There is no better way to celebrate the spirit of this holiday season than by giving to those less fortunate than us.
We should always thank veterans for their service. However, we all should do more than just say ‘thank you.’ Everyone who is able should donate to or volunteer at a local veteran’s organization that is changing the lives of veterans in our own community.
Many of you could easily afford to give $100 a year to a veterans organization. A great way to give $100 per year is to give using your credit card. You could donate $8.33 every month to the charity for a year. That is less than the cost of one meal at a fast-food restaurant.
If 1,000 Ventura County residents gave $8.33 per month for a year, that would raise $100,000 to provide additional programs and assistance to our veterans.
For Ventura County residents who are more affluent, please give $83.33 per month for a year to your favorite local veterans organization. If only 100 residents of Ventura County give $83.33 every month for one year, that would generate another $100,000 to assist our local veterans.
Many of you have favorite charities for helping animals, the environment, children in need, etc. Please consider finding a local veterans organization that you could support as well, with your charitable giving.
Our veterans will greatly appreciate it. Our community would then have done a small part to repay our veterans for their service, which can never be fully repaid.
Thank you for your anticipated generosity on behalf of our local veterans.
Happenings and Veteran Events
Dec 1-21: Toys for Tots collection, VFW Museum of Military History, Simi Valley Town Center, 1555 Town Center Way, Suite 220. The post is supporting the Marines of the Reserve 2nd Battalion-23rd Regiment with their Toys for Tots drive. The annual program collects and distributes new toys to children in need. Bring your donations to the museum. Hours are Wednesdays noon to 3 p.m., weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Contact Tony Boucher at 805-377-7926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dec 15: 9 a.m., Wreaths Across America ceremonies, Nordhoff Cemetery in Ojai, Simi Valley Public Cemetery and Conejo Mountain Cemetery. The annual laying of wreaths in Ventura County is part of the national Wreaths Across America. Events are open to the public. The goal is to place a freshly cut wreath on the headstone of every deceased veteran. Doing this quiet, simple act accentuates the spreading of patriotism during these troubling times and commemorates our deceased veterans’ sacrifices. You are invited to attend a brief ceremony followed by the placing of wreaths. Event locations are:
Nordhoff Cemetery, Ojai: Corner of Del Norte and Cuyama Roads. For more information, contact Ron Sheets, commander, American Legion Post 482, at 805-207-9502.
Simi Valley Public Cemetery: 1461 Thompson Lane, Simi Valley. For more information, contact the Marine Corps League President Ronald Reagan Det #597 at 800-844-8762.
Conejo Mountain Cemetery: 2052 Howard Road, Camarillo. For more information, call or text Forrest Frields at 805-405-0993.
Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization (wreathsacrossamerica.org) founded in 1992. Its mission is carried out at ceremonies each December at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 1,200 other cemeteries across the country. For more information, contact Bob Pratt, Ventura County area coordinator, at 805-501-7400.
If you would like to learn about veteran services and programs, call 805-482-6550.
Ronald J. Greenwood is co-founder and chair of the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation.
Source: VC Star article from December 2, 2018