Veterans’ Day 2015: Shirt Stories™ Formally Begins

Shirt Stories™, my desired tangible progression of this site, was unveiled today in a quiet, hopefully seen as respectful, manner.  I specifically chose Veterans’ Day because the story featured on this shirt tackled the necessary responsibility, I feel, veterans have to serve one another.  So many organizations have gone out of their way to serve veterans as a ‘thank you’ for our collective service.  In fact, I’ve been very privileged to enjoy tangible benefits based on my military service however, I do not wish to take advantage (negatively) of such offerings.  To further clarify this point, I do not plan a day’s worth of Veterans’ Day activity hopping to get discounts and freebies.

This year, we ate breakfast at Liberty Market, had ice cream at Petersen’s in Gilbert, enjoyed drinks at Bar Vinedo, and topped the day off with Taco Bell.  However, we paid full price for our drinks and meals at each restaurant, as we would have done any other day, with the exception of Taco Bell.  (The employees at Taco Bell accidentally created our order twice, which is the only reason why we did score free food today.) Our free of charge activity was our walk around the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch.

I do go out and enjoy my day off of work, as clearly evidenced by my choices above.  I think all veterans (and certainly, our nonveteran) counterparts should.  We work too much in this society to not fully enjoy holidays, even if they are ones we don’t celebrate and/or honor.  Just go out and enjoy time off work, if that’s your thing.

This year, I decided I wanted a new tradition.  This goal was important to me because I see more of the negative facets related to ‘veteran entitlement’.  I see numerous organizations, civilian and veteran collaborations, serving our veterans every day and I realized I wanted to actively encourage veterans to serve other veterans on Veterans’ Day.  This token of appreciation could be big or small, locally focused on one’s veteran peer(s) or a gift given to a veteran stranger.

I spent today with my family sporting this message (see below images) to encourage my veteran peers to do greater things today (with their money, time, and miscellaneous resources) besides mapping all the destinations to hit up today for a free drink/meal.

IMG_7681 IMG_7678 IMG_7676Today, we gave back to the veteran community by establishing monthly donations to Puppies Behind Bars.  This very interesting collaboration involves inmates who serve as puppy trainers.  The puppies live with their trainers, in prison, for a specific training period to serve as service dogs for wounded veterans or as law enforcement working dogs.

Hopefully, this small action encourages others to do the same with their time, money, and resources.  Life’s too short to not help others.

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