For some communities in the U.S., celebrating and thanking veterans for their service is not a one-day occasion limited to Veterans Day. From special recognition during performances to offering a multitude of services and resources, many communities show their appreciation of veterans every day. Take a look at how veterans are recognized and honored year-round in the following cities.
The city of Anaheim, California, honors veterans all year through a multitude of events, ceremonies and honors. The city has a Military Banner Program, which honors residents currently deployed in the U.S. military. Banners display the residents’ names and pictures, and are prominently displayed in the West Anaheim, East Anaheim and downtown areas. Through the Anaheim Veterans Gallery, veterans can share their stories of their service to the U.S., allowing their legacies to be shared and honored. The city also honors fallen members of the military. Veterans and active military personnel are honored throughout the year through a number of other events, too, including Memorial Day, Fourth of July and the Veterans Day celebration.
For those who live in Branson, Missouri, thanking veterans for their service is an everyday occurrence. With its location almost in the center of the U.S., Branson, is a natural choice for hosting veteran events, too. Lynn Berry, director of communications for the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, estimated that Branson hosts 500 reunions per year, with veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam visiting the city. “They [the veterans] come from all over the U.S. because the welcome they receive in the heartland is something that touches them,” she explained. “I stop active duty to thank them. It’s built into us, and it’s a patriotic feeling that we carry with us each and every day,” she said. Berry noted that Branson also offers veterans discounts on live performances and restaurants, and cast members have been known to thank veterans for their service from the stage.
Myrtle Beach, SC
While many cities and towns across the U.S. may plan one parade and maybe a concert to honor veterans every year, the people of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, plan an entire month filled with activities and events. Held in May, the Myrtle Beach Military Appreciation Days include a number of events to thank those who served. A family picnic to thank both veterans and their families, a parade, a 5K race and concerts are part of the festivities. The Military Appreciation Days have also included opportunities to remember those who died while in service; during the 2014 events, a traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall was available. The Memorial Day Ceremony is also part of the month-long events, giving the public a chance to thank those who served.
The city of Tyler, Texas has made continual strides in helping veterans find employment and provide support for those who have served. Located in Smith County, which has more than 18,000 veterans, the City of Tyler has the Mayor’s Roundtable discussions. Through this program, resource centers for veterans have been created in nearby colleges and universities. The roundtable discussions have also researched the issues surrounding housing for veterans in Tyler and have provided recommendations for issues directly affecting veterans. These discussions help improve the quality of life for veterans in the city. Smith County was also declared a Purple Heart County.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in "-er." She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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