In 1954, President Eisenhower signed the bill proclaiming November 11th as the day set aside to honor US military veterans. Each year, Americans are reminded of the contributions and sacrifices our veterans have made.
My dad and his brothers were in the military. I realized yesterday that I never really got to hear the stories of that period of their lives. I never thought to ask either. How unfortunate, eh? My dad’s been gone since 1992, and my uncles have all since passed as well, so hearing their stories, from them, is impossible.
What I do remember is the day my dad was sitting at our dining room table with his best friend, who he met in the Army – both men terminally ill – talking about their time in the service. Their conversation was hushed and private. Tears flowed. Hugs happened. Laughter filled the room. It was personal and intimate and beautiful. To this day, no one outside of those two knows what was shared.
Fast forward to the 2000s. Nashville songwriter Bob Regan began performing on Armed Forces Entertainment Tours at military bases around the world. On those tours, in addition to meeting many servicemembers, he was also made aware of the large number of service-related injuries, issues, and illnesses related to the conflicts in Korea, Viet Nam, and the Middle East and the challenges some servicemembers experience in transitioning back to life after the military.
The very compelling stories of the many servicemembers Bob met provided the inspiration for a non-profit program now known as Operation Song, which serves both veterans from World War II to today and active military, and their families, with the mission of Bringing them back, one song at a time. Bob’s hope was that transforming servicemembers’ stories into songs might help them process seemingly random and chaotic events and emotions of their service and give them some order, perspective, and validation. Pairing servicemembers with songwriters, who are natural storytellers, could turn those compelling stories into equally compelling, healing music.
Birthed in 2012, Operation Song provides its services to active and non-active military and their families at no cost. For those already suffering, the strong emotions evoked by the holiday season can be both a blessing and a curse. They – and we – need help now more than ever.
Partnering with Operation Song gives me an opportunity to serve the men and women who are serving or have served our country. Through Operation Song’s programs, these men and women offer us all a glimpse into their lives, hearts, and minds. Although my dad never shared glimpses of his own service, the stories shared through Operation’s Song’s participants reminds me of my own hero who served our country.
Interested in hearing some of these amazing stories? Visit the website here.
Want to personally make an impact on a veteran’s life? Check out how you can get involved here.
Corporate partnerships are needed as well. Reach out to me to learn more.
Our service members and their families are paying it forward. Please help us repay as many of them as we can, Bringing them back, one song at a time.