The Fourth of July is a holiday reserved for patriotism and giving thanks to those who protect our country’s freedom. Generation after generation of veterans have come and gone, some without ever getting the recognition they deserve. This year, make it a priority to seek out and honor those wise men and women who served our country decades ago.
Aging Veterans Deserve Remembrance
The last American veteran of World War I passed away in 2011. Frank Buckles took with him a life’s worth of wisdom and perspective we can’t possibly emulate now – a unique, firsthand experience of life in that tumultuous period. Today there are somewhere between 800,000 and 900,000 World War II veterans alive, according to the Veteran’s Administration, although that number is dropping quickly as these heroes reach old age. These individuals can serve as a valuable bridge to ther past for family and friends.
It’s more important than ever to talk to those veterans – not only from World War II, but also any past conflicts, including the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the wars in the Gulf and the Middle East. If your parent, grandparent, or relative served, consider a few ways to bring up their experiences:
- Conduct an interview and ask specific questions about life and service during those years
- Have your loved ones retell one of their famous tales and record it as an audio file
- Collect old newspaper clippings or archived stories online and have your loved ones comment on those they may recall
On this Independence Day, remember to talk to your veteran loved ones, spend some time with them, and let them know how much you appreciate their service.
Honor the veterans this Independence Day.
Continue Honoring Our Veterans After They Pass
Those veterans who died protecting our freedom or who passed away peacefully in old age are not forgotten. Across the U.S., veterans’ memories live on and their stories continue to be told.
If there’s an aging veteran in your family, think about how he or she will want to be remembered – and think about how you can carry on that legacy for years to come. End-of-life planning for a veteran takes a particular approach and can be somewhat different than the process for a civilian. Think about the best way to tell your loved one’s story and how to have it affect as many people as possible. Consider, too, how any grandchildren or great grandchildren will be able to honor their relative.
To those ends, cremation offers an elegant and honorable way to remember those who fought and died protecting our values. There are numerous ways to use your loved one’s ashes to carry his memory and story on generation after generation. An urn is an elegant, simple way to distribute ashes among family members, while scattering ashes is a great option for families spread across the country.
What’s more, there are generous government benefits for veterans and their families. Any U.S. veteran who has passed away is entitled to be interred in any National Cemetery free of charge – an honorable resting place and great financial advantage for the family. Neptune Society also helps eligible veterans and their families apply for federal reimbursements and benefits, making the cremation and ceremony planning process easier and less costly.