Veterans: Honoring Veterans and Their Families

By Laura Thomas, mother of an active duty servicemember, the wife, mother-in-law and sister of veterans, and GCVF volunteer

The official Veterans Day 2021 poster from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

On Nov. 11, our nation will celebrate Veterans Day.

Originally known as “Armistice Day,” it was established on Nov. 11, 1919, to mark the first anniversary of the end of World War I. The 11th was chosen because World War I ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918.

In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance of the day, and in 1938 the date became a national holiday “dedicated to the cause of world peace” and recognizing World War I veterans.

In 1954, after America had been through World War II and the Korean War, the holiday was renamed “Veterans Day” to honor veterans of all wars.

In 2001, the week of Nov. 11-17 was further designated by the U.S. Senate as “National Veterans Awareness Week,” calling for elementary and secondary schools to educate America’s children about the contributions and sacrifices of veterans.

As the holiday itself has changed over the years, so has the public’s acknowledgement of the contributions and sacrifices of our veterans. We are also becoming more aware of the difficulties veterans may encounter when transitioning into civilian life, as well as the importance of providing them with the support and resources they need.

Additionally, there is a greater recognition of the crucial role that the veterans’ spouses and families have played over the course of the servicemember’s military career.

In one case, a number of Ventura County agencies, organizations and businesses come to the aid of a 94-year-old widow who is legally blind and needed assistance.

Enter the Continuum of Care Alliance, a collaborative group dedicated to ending homelessness in Ventura County.

Alerted to the woman’s condition by the Camarillo Police Department, Rafael Stoneman of the Mobile Veteran Rescue Unit of Gold Coast Veterans Foundation reached out to the United Way and Society of St. Vincent DePaul for assistance in finding resources for the widow.

Kirby Subaru also extended a goodwill gesture and bought out the woman’s Subaru contract. She also received help selling her 1953 trailer and getting her finances in order.

As a result, within 10 days, she was secured for her at a senior apartment in Ventura and was again self-sufficient and her dignity was restored.

The woman also found a new community of support at the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation. This monumental collaborative effort, led by the foundation and its partners, will be recognized by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors at their meeting on Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. as their “Moment of Inspiration.”

Then it will be back to work for the Continuum of Care Alliance, until homelessness is a thing of the past in Ventura County.

We still may have a way to go to achieve the “world peace” envisioned back when our country first designated a national holiday to honor veterans more than 80 years ago.

In the meantime, we can be heartened by the fact that we have grown as a nation in our recognition and appreciation of veterans as well as the sacrifices of their family members.

On Nov. 11 at 8 a.m., the Board of Directors of Gold Coast Veterans Foundation will host a Veterans Day ceremony at their Camarillo office at 4001 Mission Oaks Blvd., Suite D. The public is invited.

Source: VC Star article from November 1, 2021