What do veterans mean to me — everything!
It’s a time to reflect, a time to remember, a time to give thanks to all of our veterans who served our great nation. Over the decades, many families have lost a loved one — husband, wife, brother, sister, son, and daughter. It can best be described as a seamless tapestry woven with love and personal sacrifice, symbolic of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not a day passes when I do not stop and ponder, quietly remembering our veterans and those presently serving. They are always in my heart and prayers. Thank you veterans, you make us stronger.
Too often I take for granted how lucky I am. I’m blessed to be born in this country, which gave me opportunities and freedoms that so many people throughout the world don’t have. We can honor the people who made the ultimate sacrifice by remembering them, appreciating our freedoms and by supporting our veterans and active military personnel. Let Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other holidays serve as reminders but certainly not the only days we think about and thank our veterans.
In August 2012, Havenwood-Heritage Heights Retirement Community (H-HH) in Concord, New Hampshire held its first Veterans Organization meeting dedicated to our men and women veterans who served honorably in the United States Armed Forces during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Traditionally, we have an Annual Remembrance Day, wherein all of our veterans on both campuses are honored in a special ceremony. They deserve no less. The thought came to mind, why not have a Veterans Organization at H-HH that would serve as a support/informational group to all who served. Our CEO and President, Michael Palmieri expressed great enthusiasm and support in seeing this become a reality. From that moment on, we never looked back, as the organization sprang to life. Sue Pollock, Sue Belanger, and Cathy Herman have been exemplary in their support.
At our first meeting we were honored by the presence of Michael Palmieri, who extended a warm welcome to all in attendance, and Colonel Rick Perkins, USMC (Semper Fi) who gave a stirring keynote address. He praised our veterans, thanking them for their service to our country, saying “you will never be forgotten.” Colonel Perkins touched upon his 31 years in the United States Marine Corps, (including four deployments in Afghanistan with Special Forces) leading up to his recent retirement. He now flies full time as a pilot for FED-X circling the globe. Listening to him as he proudly described his pride in the USMC, said “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” Col. Perkins embodies all that is honorable about our men and women serving at home and abroad.
The H-HH Veteran’s Organization encourages all CCRC’ s (Continuing Care Retirement Communities) across America to consider following in our footsteps, forming in like manner a Veteran’s Organization. We would be honored to assist them in any way possible to bring this to a reality. For starters, you can contact me, Larry Pelland, Resident at H-HH. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be delighted to hear from you. There is and always will be a comradeship between our veterans that will never cease. They are a part of that woven tapestry that describes the greatness of America!