Published on November 08, 2013

Veterans Day Event Will Support We Honor Veterans Program

By Dr. Ann O’Donnell, D.O.

By honoring veterans on Veterans Day, Genesis VNA and Hospice will also be able to honor veterans every day of the year.

We Honor Veterans is a national program of the Veterans Administration and implemented by hospice programs nation wide.  Genesis Hospice patients who are veterans, nearing the end of life, are honored in a bedside ceremony.  They are recognized for their service by hospice volunteers many who are also veterans.

In their final days, many veterans have a story to share.  We Honor Veterans ceremonies give veterans the opportunity to be recognized for the sacrifice they made while serving and an opportunity to share their personal stories.  At the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House an American flag and a branch of service flag are posted on the veteran’s door.  There are times when I look down the hallway, see those flags and wonder, “what is his or her most memorable story?”  How has that shaped their life?  How will it affect this stage of their life?  The veteran receives an enamel pin and a certificate that they and the family will then proudly display.

Some of the veterans may feel they do not have much to say, or may be reluctant to recall memories they have buried in their past.  Others will want to share many memories of their veteran experiences.  No veteran’s story is the same.  Families may have never heard the stories of their loved one’s experience, or they may have heard them 20 times.  It may be humorous, or sad or a melancholy recollection of the events surrounding their time as they served their country.  The veteran, who may have been responsible for taking lives, may talk about that for the first time.  It may initially be a difficult journey to take but many times we see that a vet is finally able to feel a sense of cleansing by telling their story in their own words.

To support the We Honor Veterans program for Genesis hospice patients, Genesis is inviting all veterans, their families and the public to the Adler Theater in downtown Davenport on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11th. We’ll show two inspiring movies about veterans.

We’ll host the premier Quad Cities showing (1 p.m.) of Honor Flight, a highly rated documentary telling the story of World War II veterans traveling to  visit the World War II memorial and other sites in Washington, D.C.

And, at 6 p.m. we’ll present To Them That’s Gone, a documentary about a recognition project for warriors who volunteered for service and died in Afghanistan and Iraq following the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Center.  Film maker Will Gardiner will attend the screening in Davenport and will talk about the film.

Proceeds from admission and donations at the Veterans Day event will support We Honor Veterans program at Genesis Hospice.

So please join us on Veterans Day at the Adler Theater to honor ALL veterans on their special day but to also support the We Honor Veterans program that honors veterans at the end of life throughout the entire year.

Dr. Ann O'Donnell, D.O. is medical director of Genesis VNA, Genesis Hospice and the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House.

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