My twin daughters’ kindergarten teacher sent home an activity to honor Veterans this November. The school will be posting hearts around building with the names of Veterans each child knows. When I saw the paper with four hearts they are supposed to cut out and color, I laughed and said, “we’re going to have to email your teacher and ask for lots more!” My husband had a similar reaction when they showed him the paper. You see, our family has a long history and tradition of military service. Both my husband and I served, our siblings and parents have served, as have aunts, uncles, and grandparents on both sides of our family. It’s part of who we are as a family.
With my professional life focused on the health and well-being of service members, Veterans, and their families, it’s difficult for me to imagine not knowing someone who served in the military. But for so many in our country, that is quite often the case. With less than 1 percent of U.S. adults serving on active duty and just 7 percent Veterans who previously served, there are millions of people who have never interacted with this population.
As we celebrate Veterans Day this year, take a few moments to learn about those who have served. There are several military culture trainings out there, but I find the Psych Armor 15 Things Veterans Want You to Know course to be particularly approachable and at just 15 minutes, easy to squeeze into busy schedules. And if you want to learn even more, they have expanded their 15 Things courses to Military Caregivers and Military and Veteran Kids.
Being a part of a military family means being a part of a small, close-knit community that shares and connects in our collective experience of service before self.