War is a traumatic experience for everyone, whether you or your loved one is serving in the military. One of the hardest aspects of service can be the transition from war back to civilian life.
Many veterans struggle with finances and employment after their time in service, as well as with anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Often veterans feel that they are alone and that no one can understand them.While there are lot of resources for veterans, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which provides assistance for finding a job, subsidized loans on houses and remedial services for financial problems, it can be very difficult to cure with the loneliness felt by so many.
In the past years, lots of organizations have made efforts to reach out to veterans to help them cope with these feelings, including Montgomery County Public Libraries. On January 31, Davis Library held a Valentines for Veterans event, where children and adults of all ages could stop by and make Valentine’s Day cards that would be delivered to the VA by Valentine’s Day.
Holidays are a time when veterans may suffer from even more severe feelings of loneliness or depression. These handcrafted valentines are a way for the general population to communicate their thanks to the veteran. Richard Montgomery sophomore Taylor Balfour agrees that the cards will definitely lift the spirits of the veterans who receive them.
She says, “I think sending valentines to veterans would help them remember that they are appreciated and not forgotten, and that there are people who care for their health and happiness, even if those people are strangers.”
This type of event demonstrates the larger trend towards service opportunities in the community. In the past, holidays such as Valentine’s Day have been treated very superficially, but now they offer a chance to give back to society. Rock View kindergarten teacher Heidi Mordhorst sums up the link between this kind of Valentine’s Day activity and the character trait of the month at her school in one word: caring. She adds, “It’s just another opportunity for kids to look outside themselves, their own families, and even their own communities and do something for others.”
Nowadays there is a misconstrued idea that service to the community has to be big and grandiose, like helping build a house, or donating large sums of money to a charity. However, Valentines for Veterans and other such programs demonstrate the power of little acts of kindness and service. A kid can stop by the Davis Library, make a Valentine, and make a veteran’s Valentine’s Day that much happier. Along with benefiting the veterans of America, this event reinforced the idea that everyone can make a difference in their own community.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Daisy Grant of Richard Montgomery High School.