American author, Melody Beattie, is attributed with stating, "Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." On the heels of Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day, I find Ms. Beattie's sentiment even more meaningful this year.
On Veterans Day, November 11th, the entire Nation acknowledged the uniformed service of nineteen million veterans (2021 US Department of Veterans Affairs report). John F. Kennedy said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." George Washington stated that a "nation is judged by how well it treats its veterans." Their words, and the selfless service of our WWII Nisei veterans, inspired me to accept a two-year appointment to the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans by the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs. I hope to help unburden the hidden costs of war of veterans, their families, and beneficiaries.
And this sentiment leads to our national holiday of thanks and appreciation called Thanksgiving Day. I have much to be thankful for about our volunteers. Some long-tenured volunteers include Keith and Mary Ann Yamaguchi, 'co-chairs' of the monthly Nisei Veterans Luncheon; Bob Kiga, chair of the Annual NVC Memorial Day Celebration; Shiz Kaku, stalwart steward of donor acknowledgments; Geri Lynn-Egeler for her curator work receiving and cataloging artifacts transferred to NVC's care and stewardship; and Paul Murakami and his newsletter crew. All contribute to NVC’s mission. So many others deserve recognition and appreciation too. We simply cannot survive or thrive without our volunteers.
Finally, Christmas and the December holiday season are here. Janice Maeditere (Chicken Soup book fame) says, "Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts." In that spirit, lets pause, whisper aloud your thanks and appreciation for our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen, and Guardians, and those serving in overseas assignments. Trust me, they'll hear you … I always did.