Happy Veteran’s Day! Today we’re taking a moment to honor all of our veterans who have served, given their time, blood, sweat, tears, and in some cases their lives to help us to enjoy and live the lives full of freedom and prosperity that we all hold so dear. Let us not ever forget their bravery and their sacrifice.
A special thank to those who have been kind enough now and in the past to share their stories, their photos and their memories with us at One Unified.
I had a chance to talk briefly to 2 people who have special ways that they honor vets this time of year. Hopefully it will inspire you to thank a vet today!
You have a special tradition for Veteran’s Day each year isn’t that right?
I do. Not just myself but my son, my daughter, my sister and my nieces as well.
What do you do?
There’s a local diner near our home where several groups of veterans eat and have coffee on an almost daily basis. Every Veteran’s Day morning, we pick up the bill for breakfast for all of the vets.
Wow. That is incredibly kind. How many vets would you say you typically buy breakfast for?
There’s a little group of guys who sit at the counter every morning and have coffee and read the paper, probably 6 or so. Then there is a small group of guys who come in later for breakfast. They’re in there probably 4-5 days a week but always on Veterans’ Day. So I think it’s usually between 10-15 tabs we pick up. It’s really not a lot when you think about it.
So how does that work? How do you pay the bills?
Well the first year we were actually eating in the diner, my sister and I, and we decide to pay the check for the gentleman at the next table and his friend. He was clearly a vet. We did it anonymously. It felt so goo just to watch his reaction and he was looking all around the diner trying to figure out who paid the bill. The owner who is a neighbor of ours, thought it was so great that she began to give free coffee to all vets on Veterans Day. We talked about it and it’s been a few years now, so what she does is just holds all the checks for the guys who are vets and that evening she’ll give me a call and tell me what we owe and I come down and pay her.
So no one knows who is paying for them? It’s all anonymous?
It is. I mean, no one knows that we are the ones. That’s one reason I didn’t want you to publish my name. But the cool thing is that we will pop in during the day and usually get to witness some of what is going on. It’s really cool to see someone’s face when something is done for them with gratitude. Not just vets, but that goes for everyone! My son and my daughter draw pictures and cards and we leave them at the counter and the owner will give them to vets as well.
That is a great idea and a great way to say thank you. Do you do this in honor of someone special?
Yes we do. We do it for my husband. He was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. He was killed in Afghanistan. My son was a baby, and my daughter hadn’t even started school yet. It was the most incredibly difficult time of my life. But I am a proud marine wife now and forever and this just keeps his memory alive! He was a great person.
We recently said on the site that Veterans Day is about much more than just great sales at the mall. You have a special way to honor vets that actually got its inspiration at the mall. Can you explain?
Sure. So, I was actually shopping and I saw a vet outside selling those little poppy flowers from the VFW, I’m sure you’ve seen them. They’ve been around since I was a kid. I remember my mom giving them a donation and getting one of those little flowers and telling me on the way home that the money went to support veterans. My dad was a vet and so she’d buy the poppies every time. So I bought the poppy but I had a thought that I should actually do something else too. I thought what if everyone who bought a poppy then did a good deed to go with it, maybe in the name of a veteran.
So every time you’d buy a poppy you’d do a good deed as well?
Actually that was my thought, but I wanted to take it further. So I decided to buy all the poppies! I thought it’d be cool if I did a random act of kindness for strangers and leave the poppies behind as sort of calling card- so they’d know it was in honor of a vet! Sometimes, I’d write the name of a vet on the little tag attached to the flower.
What a creative idea! Where did you get the vets? Were they family? Friends?
I used my Dads name, branch and rank on the first one I ever did. I paid the bill for an older couple eating lunch behind me at Denny’s. I had the waitress leave the poppy with the bill and tell them someone had paid their check. After that, I did it in the name of a few vets that I had been friends with growing up, some who made it back, some who did not. After a few people found out what I was doing, they had the names of vets they wanted to honor too, and so I always had a name any for my next idea.
What were the ideas? What were some of the random acts of kindness you did in honor of these vets?
I’d pay people’s highway tolls. I picked up the tab in restaurants and bars. I added change to parking meters. Small things mainly, but even the smallest act of kindness from a stranger makes someone feel good. That’s what I wanted. I wanted people to look at the name of someone who served their country, who fought for their right to be free, and then think about how good they feel that someone was kind to them, and forever associate the two!
We hope that these two kind souls have inspired you to do something good today in honor of a veteran, or at the very least be sure to thank any that you see for their bravery and service. Happy Veteran’s Day.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!