COVID-19 is changing how Americans salute Veterans Day this year. Many will honor military men and women safely from home through virtual activities and events. Others will be practicing coronavirus prevention protocols on-site at ceremonies dedicated to honoring the war veterans who have sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Maj. James Strong of the Fox Valley Veterans Council (FVVC), a Be Safe Wisconsin partner, believes it is important during the pandemic to remember the country’s veterans. “We live each day with the memories and circumstances of our service,” he says. “It is very much appreciated by many of us when a member of the public thanks us for that service.”
Maj. Strong suggests one way to safely remember veterans is by observing a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. on November 11.
The FVVC has organized a Veterans Day ceremony at St. Mary’s Church in Appleton where all necessary precautions such as temperature checks and physical distancing will be taken by staff. The public is encouraged to watch the program on WFRV-TV/Channel 5, which will be live-streaming the event, starting at 11:00 a.m.
Maj. Strong notes the Fox Valley Veterans Council continues to provide support of basic needs for all area veterans affected by COVID-19. Many veterans are anxious over contracting COVID-19. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, it has administered more than 700,000 COVID-19 tests nationwide. Also affecting veterans is the stress of living under pandemic restrictions and the resulting isolation. It can have a huge impact on a veteran already dealing with PTSD, anxiety or thoughts of suicide.
“I would urge everyone who is a friend or neighbor of a veteran dealing with these issues to offer appropriate support and encouragement,” Maj. Strong says. And, if able, he advises Wisconsinites to give to the Veterans Emergency Fund, which gives Wisconsin veterans a financial helping hand during these tough, uncertain times. The fund mainly benefits veterans and immediate family members impacted by job loss, medical emergencies and housing needs.
Maj. Strong asks anyone knowing of a veteran in need to contact the FVVC, either through its website at www.foxvalleyveterans.org or by calling (920) 358-0662, and to honor those who have served in some way on November 11.