At the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust we are never too far from thinking about veterans, in particular veterans of World War II. When Ours To Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War was on view, there were veterans present at all times and it wasn’t difficult to thank them for their service because they were hanging out in the Irving Schneider and Family Gallery.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are 22,658,000 living veterans, and approximately 950,000 live in the state of New York. Readers of the blog know that I am a fan of our military men and women, especially around Fleet Week and Memorial Day. But I have to say that Veterans Day gives me the opportunity to say thank you to those who have served and fought, those no longer in harm’s way. I have to admit that there is less worry and anxiety inherent in this exchange.Yesterday I participated in NYC’s Veterans Day parade with the USO. My assignment, along with 30 others, was to walk along the parade route, shake hands with the veterans we saw, and say thank you. Some wore part of their old uniforms; others wore tell-tale signs like hats that said “Vietnam Vet” or “Veteran, Korean War.” Young and old, representing every culture and ethnicity, each one had the handshake of a proud leader. The crowd had thinned out by the time we reached the thirtieth block, but the parade had already been underway for two plus hours. Despite the dwindling crowds, it was an emotional walk up 5th Avenue I will not soon forget. Nor will I forget the strength and determination of the millions who have served our country in war and in peacetime. Thank you for your service.