What a week it's been here in the United States! What a time of division and darkness we seem to be facing at the moment.
We are just beyond the precipice of an unscripted future. It has been a difficult few days. Our shock and fear, however, at feeling the ground beneath us disappear and all else recede above us must turn to action. We must get our feet beneath us once again; we must reach out and look for one another amidst what feels like a free fall in utter darkness. Minds and hearts must be opened. We must step free of the echo chambers and enchanted mirrors with which we surround ourselves too frequently online and otherwise. We must choose to hear and see one another clearly, to understand that which we do not know, and to care for one another as best we can.
One of the first things I did on Wednesday morning was to make some donations to causes that matter to me. These contributions were my way of acknowledging the far greater value that I feel these organizations represent and that we should never take for granted. My fearfulness receded a tiny bit when I realized that it is not only still possible, but completely crucial, to stand up for and stand alongside those whose wellbeing is challenged, whose visibility is endangered. Sharing what we have of time or other resources, giving recognition, and showing compassion--these are things we should strive always to do. Now, however, more than ever, they feel like at least part of the balm so many of us could use. Our feelings of vulnerability, invisibility, and fear can be transformed into opportunities to connect, to see, and to help.
This all brings me to the reason for my post tonight. It is the eve of Veterans, or Armistice, Day, November 11th. This day has had a significance of many facets for me over the last five years of blogging here and the last several years of communing with the ghosts of 1914. As ever, the 11th is an opportunity to step outside of ourselves, our present time and circumstances, our everyday routines, and to recognize the sacrifices, stories, realities, and needs of those who have served their countries in uniform.
To the men and women who have served in war- and peacetime, I give thanks. To my readers, I issue my usual encouragement to give thanks and support to veterans on this or any day. Some options for charitable giving are listed here. I have no affiliation with any particular charity or organization, but I hope that you take this opportunity to contribute time, a donation, or some other expression of care and recognition.
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund:
This organization offers support and medical care for severely wounded service members and helps support military families.
This organization offers military families temporary "comfort housing" where they can stay locally when loved one is being treated for injuries or illness.
The British Legion provides "practical care, advice, and support" to serving military members, veterans, and families.
Operation Homefront provides emergency financial assistance to military families.
Homes for Our Troops assists severely injured/disabled veterans with necessary structural and other adaptations for their homes in order to support comfortable, accessible, and independent living.