For this trip I initially had no plans of making it. I had prior plans that I decided to postpone. Being able to spend time with fellow veterans is hard for me to pass up. Even though I hadn’t prepared anything for them I did show up for conversations sake. While I was there, I ran into an older marine who was in during the Vietnam era. We swapped stories about the hells of bootcamp and the funny phrases our drill instructors would say. It was nice to just sit there and laugh like we were back in the motor pool standing around the smoke pit.
During my second trip I was reminded of the Marine Corps core values of honor, courage, and commitment. Seeing these residences show up to the dinners with smiles on their faces speaks volumes to the types of men they are. At one point in their lives they put their lives on hold to serve a country that may or may not have supported them. Instead of allowing their pride to interfere, these men show up and thank the students and Dr. Soldani for taking the time to organize a free dinner. They may not need the free dinner but based on their smiles they sure do appreciate the gesture.
In my opinion the veteran community is amongst the most forgotten groups of people. Its so easy for veterans who have medical issues or financial troubles to be left behind to fend for themselves. These men and women deserve to be helped even if its in the form of a free meal from time to time. Volunteering at veterans’ facilities can make a huge impact on the lives of those who reside there. Just by showing up and showing that you care can have a lasting affect on their lives. At the end of the day, helping those that serve is just one way to remind our veterans that we will never forget the sacrifices that made.