Heroes in Hospice Care
Yes, I know that Memorial Day is the day set aside as a national holiday to remember those who died while in military service. And, yes, I think it’s very important for all of us, especially younger people, to be aware that thousands of men and women actually gave their lives in dedicated service to what this country stood for and still stands for.
Most top of mind are likely those killed in World War II, and Korea, and Vietnam, and Iraq, and Afghanistan. But there are others to be remembered... from Grenada and WWI and all the way back to the Civil War. Memorial Day is dedicated to all those who died in service. For those many who died before any recognition could be given them, who didn’t get to hear warm words like, “On behalf of a grateful nation, it is an honor to present to you...” or “Thank you for your dedication, service and sacrifice...“ or “This great nation will be forever in your debt...”
Those words are now meant for those who longingly waited for their loved ones to come home. That’s small solace for the moms and dads, the wives and husbands, children and families ― all those who loved them.
Now I can’t change the definition of Memorial Day. But in my heart as a hospice volunteer and a veteran myself, I think we can shed a little personal light on veterans currently in hospice care. I’m talking about those strong men and women who served in our military during war times, came home to live peacefully and are now close to the end of their lives. Memorial Day is not quite for them, but we can thank and recognize them for all they have done. It’s important ― whether it’s a reference to their sacrifice during a volunteer visit or in a more formal pinning ceremony.
It’s been my pleasure to be involved in both. These living heroes might want to talk about their service time or they may not. Either way, it’s okay. It’s been my experience that just our recognition of their service and a “thanks” is appreciated by our hospice veterans and their families. Other hospice volunteers might want to consider this.
I take some liberties with a quote from General George Patton: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men [and women] who died. Rather we should thank God that such men [and women] lived.”
I think it’s time to thank our veterans for their contributions to our freedoms.
A Vietnam Veteran
A JourneyCare Volunteer
A Proud Supporter of the We Honor Veterans Initiative
JourneyCare is one of the only nonprofit hospices in the Chicago area that is recognized by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) as a partner in the We Honor Veterans program. Learn more at www.journeycare.org/we-honor-veterans.