Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

Patty here

Today is Veteran’s Day, a time we honor the men and women, past and present, who have served in the armed forces. I honor all of them, but especially my great uncle Julius who was killed in WWI just 15 days before the Armistice.

And my father, the real George Smiley, who served in Europe during WWII

Today (and every day) we remember our loved ones who have served or are currently serving, but some of us may wonder what more we can do. Thanks to Parade magazine, below are some things you can do NOW to help our troops and veterans. There are several things on this list I plan to do.

11 Ways to Help Our Vets and Troops on 11/11 
  1. Upgrade a soldier’s helmet: For $35, you can provide a service member cushioning helmet pads to help protect against traumatic brain injury. 
  2. Foster a companion animal: Pets for Vets pairs shelter dogs with veterans in an effort to ease the emotional wounds of war. Volunteers are needed to offer foster care for rescues, as are professional trainers to prepare the dogs for their new roles. 
  3. Help throw a baby shower: Celebrate an expectant mom whose husband is deployed or injured by sending a gift or volunteering in person at a party hosted by Operation Shower. 
  4. Mail a care package: Look up specific requests for reading material, DVDs, games, and relief supplies from service members in all five branches of the military; pack the items with a letter of thanks and ship them off. 
  5. Tune in to Tim McGraw: As part of his initiative with Chase and Operation Homefront to provide mortgage-free homes for vets and service members in need, the country star is performing a concert tonight for military families, to air on the Pentagon channel and on his website (8:45 p.m. ET). 
  6. Support a Mission: Continues fellow The Mission Continues fellowship program allows post-9/11 veterans to continue serving at home by volunteering for 26 weeks with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and American Red Cross. Your donation can help vets finds ways to channel their skills as they transition back to the civilian world. 
  7. Share your points: Transfer your hotel rewards points to Fisher House Foundation’s “Hotels for Heroes” program, which provides accommodations to the families of military service members who are undergoing medical treatment. 
  8. Offer a vet a ride: Join the VA’s Volunteer Transportation Network and you can drive veterans to and from their appointments for services. 
  9. Donate gifts for kids in Iraq and Afghanistan: Operation Give collects toys and school and art supplies that our troops can then distribute to to local children in the areas where they are serving. 
  10. Share your expertise: Sign up to teach a class or be a mentor to wounded veterans interested in exploring business opportunities after they leave the hospital. 
  11. Send a holiday card: To date, has delivered more than six million letters to service members and veterans. This holiday season, express your appreciation for our troops with a festive card containing a personal message or prayer, postmarked by December 1.
Here’s another option not included on that list: Knit a scarf for the troops serving in cold climates. Here’s an article about one such organization but there are many others. My local yarn shop in Santa Monica knits scarves for the troops. Perhaps there's a similar program in your area.

Who are you honoring today?

Happy Monday!


  1. from Jacqueline

    Thank you for this, Patty. I'm wearing my poppy in honor of all those who have fallen in wartime. I remember visiting the old Cloth Hall in Ypres (Belgium), which was rebuilt after WW1 and is now a center dedicated to that terrible war. There's an sign on one wall with a number, which is changed to reflect something quite terrible - the number of wars mankind has endured since "the war to end all wars." When I last visited it was 106 - I dread to think what it might be now. I'm a good scarf-knitter, so I'll get going on that project! And I'll send a donation for a helmet upgrade. How would it be if we all committed to do just one or two things on your list, Patty? Lest We Forget ....

    1. I just read your Facebook post. Glad you found your poppy. The veterans in my hometown used to hand out paper poppies. Not sure why that tradition stopped.

      In the meantime, I just got an email from the Screen Actors Guild asking for monetary gifts, however large or small, to send holiday care packages to troops who are deployed overseas and their families. The link is:

  2. Paul Levine: I like the real George Smiley's smile!

    1. I love the pictures you've posted of your dad. You look so much like him, smile included.

  3. James O. Born11/11/2013 6:39 PM

    Great post, Patty. I like that all of our dads served in WWII.

  4. from Jacqueline

    Yep, and my Dad too - he was a demolition expert at the age of 18 - went into Germany before the end of the WW2, blowing up bridges and disrupting communication lines. And I love it that Patty's Dad was George Smiley!

  5. Kinda funny.... whoever wrote BO's speech, didn't realize Section #60 was over 2 miles away.... when he said, " This past April, Sara was laid to rest here, in Section #60." ...when the speech was given in Section #2 of Arlington Cemetery. I bet-cha, the staffer who wrote the speech, built the Obama-Care website... :(