> ~ Insights by SewCalGal ~

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Day of Gratitude

What are you grateful for?  I'm grateful for many things, but when I step back and contemplate it, what I'm most grateful for is my freedoms, and for those who have fought to defend those freedoms, serving their countries.


Today is the day we celebrate Veterans Day in the United States, to honor Veterans, both alive and dead.  But a day never goes by that I don't think about enjoying freedom and how many Veterans have fought to defend this right for me, as well as to achieve it for others.

I am also and grateful to the parents of those that have served, as to me to have a young son or daughter off in a war zone must be very stressful.  Likewise to their siblings, as well as to those who are married and have their loved one away.  So while today is to honor the Veterans, we also pay respect to the families of such solders as they too sacrificed.

Veteran's Day is celebrated on November 11th, which  coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, that are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.)

At the end of the "Great War" (World War I), an "unknown soldier" was buried in highest place of honor in both England and France ( (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe). This special ceremony was scheduled to honor Veterans.  And these ceremonies took place on November 11th, to celebrate  the ending of World War I hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). This day became known internationally as "Armistice Day".

Move it forward, the US now refers to this day as Veterans Day.  As this holiday is close to my heart I do want to recognize all Veterans, as well as their extended families who also served, just in a different way.

I also want to recognize several organizations that are focused on helping Veterans, wounded service personal, and active duty servicemen with emergency needs not covered by the government.  Many of these, quilters are involved in helping too!

Roger Waters Stand up for Heroes, in working with the Bob Woodruff Foundation does amazing things to try to heal the soul of the wounded Veteran.  When  you have a chance, I hope you can watch this heartwarming vidio of the Stand Up For Heroes Concert that was recently held in Madison Square Gardens.

The Wounded Warrior Project does a great job working with wounded Veterans from dealing with combat stress, incorporating sports, focusing energy towards a well-adjusted mind and help them feel economically empowered.

Operation Homefront (OH) works with enlisted military, as well as wounded Veterans, to provide relieve during a crisis. This might be a result of a death in their family and they need money to return home, a car that needs repair and they lack the funds to repair it, the holiday season toy drives to provide toys to children of enlisted military soldiers that don't have funds to buy such gifts, to providing housing and financial assistance to Veterans as the exit the military and still need assistance to get on their feet.  To clarify, these are just a few examples of how this organization helps active enlisted military as well as relationships.

While I'm sharing insights on OH, I do want to share that across the US you can contact your nearest OH office to see how you can help, but the needs are common.  In Southern California they are hosting their annual Holiday Toy Drive and need 800 toys for children of all ages and sexes.    In February '14 they are hosting a Baby Shower, for wives of Military that are off in a war zone.  150 baby quilts will be needed (toys and other baby items also appreciated.

You can find contact info for OH from their website,  for your nearest OH office.  But if you can't find it or want direct contact info for the office in Southern California, please email me.  I'm also willing to drop off donations, if logistics work.

I know there are many other wonderful programs that help, but as I couldn't list them all, I wanted to list the above non-profits to heighten awareness of them with you today.

Do you wonder how you might be able to help?

Island Batik has launched the "Quilted In Honor" campaign with various ways quilters can help.  Many partner sponsors are offering a percentage of sales to be donated to Operation Homefront.

And, Kelly Jackson of I Have A Notion has made special arrangements where 90% of your purchase of a Quilted in Honor Aurifil thread collection (40 wt or 50 wt) will be donated to Operation Homefront! 
aurifil quilted in honor collection

Quilts of Valor/Quilts of Honor programs are in need of donations of blocks, tops, finished quilts, fabrics, batting, as well as volunteers to help finish these quilts.  This also includes volunteer longarm/midarm quilters.  If you do not have such a program near you and want to help, here is a contact that would gladly welcome any donation or help you can provide:

Twitter users are asked to tweet your personal message of gratitude in to celebrate Veteran's Day.  Be sure to include the hastag  #honoringvets.  You can also use this hastag and post on Facebook too!

Many Communities are hosting events to show their appreciation of Veterans.  There are Parades, Festivals, Dinners and more.  One that touched my heart, I learned about from Kelly Jackson/I Have A Notion and anticipate she'll share insights on her blog today where her family brought food to such a breakfast.  And, while at the breakfast a young widow of several small children shared what it was like to be a widow of a fallen hero.  I for one love the thought of these community events and certainly want to help in the future in my community with a breakfast for Veterans and if one has started, where I can help, I'd like to rally those in my community to help make get one going.

On another note, you may remember that SewCalGal hosted a Quilter's Christmas Party in 2012, where with your help over $2,400 was raised to benefit Operation Homefront, over 150 baby quilts were donated for use at Baby Showers, and so many toys for their children's Christmas Party and other items, that it is difficult to list them all.

While this year SewCalGal is hosting the Quilter's Bee Giving Charity Fundraisers, to hopefully increase awareness and raise funds to benefit four non-profit charities, that four participating bloggers are championing raising funds for during the month of November, in 2014 SewCalGal would like to host a Quilter's Bee Giving Charity Fundraiser that benefits a number of non-profit charity programs that benefit Veterans and wounded soldiers.  If you are a blogger that is passionate about such a charity and would like to participate in this fundraiser in 2014, please email me to lock in a space in this charity fundraising blog hop.

Again, SewCalGal extends her gratitude to all Veterans, as well as their families who have also served, just in a different way.  Big hug to all of you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  It is truly difficult to find the words to tell you how much I appreciate your sacrifice.  For me, this isn't just a Day of Gratitude.  I think of Veterans, as well as soldiers currently serving every day - and keep them close in my heart and prayers.

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Barb said...

Wow...what a wonderful post honoring those that have served. What wonderful things people are doing for OH...just enjoyed your post.

tich said...

Great post!!Enjoyed reading it.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Thanks for getting out the information on how to help. I'm involved with Quilts of Valor in my area. We've already had 2 sew-ins this week.

Joanna said...

This is a nice post. Lots of us want to help but don't know how or where to contribute, so your informational posts serve a good purpose and help point us in the right direction. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

11.11 is also our Remembrance day. Sad and happy times remembered sad to see so many of the old timers missing each year, and happy that the youngsters are beginning to sit up and take notice.

I am grateful for my life and the many friends I have made throughout it.

Martha said...

Beautiful words and actions. Thank you so much!! And thanks for all the links to so many awesome sites!

Karen said...

What a wonderful post SCG. Thank you!

Dana Gaffney said...

Wonderful post and very well said. Thanks for reminding people what this holiday is about.