A Legacy of Service, Hope for the Future
DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is the most long-lasting veterans advocacy and assistance group in this country. We’ve watched this country change and grow, and we’ve grown along with it. However, DAV has never wavered in its core mission to fulfill our country’s promises to the men and women who served. We invite everyone, veterans and civilian, men and women, young and old, to join us as we stand up for those veterans who risked it all when they stood up for us, our country, and our ideals.
J. Marc Burgess, National Adjutant
Veterans Day is always a time when I think about the ways we are able to touch the lives of those who have never served, while at the same time honoring those who have. It’s a time when we can help connect America with the powerful story of the men and women who have defended this nation.
At one of the first events held following the dedication of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, my good friend Dennis Joyner, who sacrificed three limbs in service in Vietnam, was welcoming veterans traveling to visit the District of Columbia’s war and veterans memorials with the Honor Flight program. These veterans, many of whom had been forever changed by military service, were seeing this memorial— their memorial—for the very first time.
Not long after these veterans first arrived, a group of young school children on a class trip appeared. Wide-eyed and curious, the kids observed the older veterans, talked with Dennis and learned about the memorial and what it means to veterans like him.
This is simply a wonderful glimpse at the important link between different generations who have widely varied life experiences. We often talk about how there is a gap between those who served and those who didn’t. When we have the opportunity to bridge that gap, it is immensely important that we do so.
On Veterans Day, that window seems to open just a little bit wider for us, and we’re able to share our stories of service and sacrifice with an entire nation well beyond the walls of memorials and monuments.
The benefits are twofold. First, we know there are tough battles ahead as we work to shape the future of our health care and benefits system. Each day, it becomes more critical for us to share our experiences with our neighbors, community leaders and congressional representatives so they understand our needs and can help promote the right solutions to fix the issues at hand.
Second, sharing your stories with younger generations helps stitch them into the fabric of this country’s rich history. When you are able to make a connection—as Dennis did—you help to create a society that values its veterans. You help bring about a public consciousness to the issues that the men and women who served face when they leave the military.
While many of you have no doubt already been asked to take part in Veterans Day events and activities within your own communities, it’s never a bad idea to let local leaders know that you are a veteran and member of DAV. This may open the door to different opportunities for you to share a part of veterans’ history and culture with the men, women and children of your community. And that is a most rewarding way to honor veterans, whether on Veterans Day or any other day of the year.
If you want to find out more about the National Adjutant, you can find his biography here.