Storytelling

Memorial Day is the day we reserve to honor our fallen heroes–the men and women who died defending our freedoms. It is a day to remember all our loved ones who are no longer with us. This act of remembrance is both important and healthy. While it’s crucial to remember the dead, it’s even more important that we take this time to cherish the living.

Veterans’ contributions often go unnoticed by the media and the public because not many people personally know a veteran, or perhaps because it can be a difficult subject to ponder. A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their own life. Think about that. Military men and women dedicate their lives to protecting our way of life, often making the ultimate sacrifice without us ever knowing their names.

We need to share their stories to help everyone understand what our military—soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines—do and why they do it. Storytelling has always been a vital tradition for humans, and it remains the single most important tradition that we partake in. Stories teach us about love, forgiveness, justice, and striving for something better. They heal the heart and mend the soul. Veterans’ stories are about ordinary people doing extraordinary things because they chose to. These tales of inspiration are essential for teaching life lessons, especially to young people who haven’t experienced war. 

When you thank a veteran for their service, you should understand WHY. Consider all the freedoms and privileges we enjoy in this country and ask yourself who protects them. Veterans have a wealth of wisdom and experience, and their stories of family, success, and loss show how service shaped their lives. We need to capture and share this wisdom so that it can be passed onto our future generations.

Every veteran has a story worth sharing. There are many veterans alive today with meaningful stories, and it is our duty to share them. We ask for your support in this effort. We at American Legion Post 159 are committed to bringing together military veterans and the civilian population to help everyone understand what it means to hear the call for service and respond with selfless duty to protect our freedoms. Our goal is to ensure this bond grows with each generation.

As a veteran myself, I recognize it is a title that cannot be inherited or bought. I have earned the VETERAN title with my blood, sweat and tears. I own it forever, as does every other man and woman who has served. I hope that by collecting stories through my website, whytheydoit.org, I will help pay it forward, adding meaning and context to the veteran experience long after I am gone. This Memorial Day, I hope that you will join me in increasing our understanding of the sacrifices veterans made for us and our country. God bless you and your families, God bless our troops, and God bless America. 

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