Today’s Hope For The Warriors® blog is from Valerie Pfundstein.  Valerie is a kindergarten teacher, a girl scout leader and the author of a new children’s book titled Veterans:  Heroes in our Neighborhood.  She asks each of us to turn to veterans to discover the true heroes in our neighborhoods.

“What is a hero?  To really understand what heroes are,
we must first understand what heroes are not.”

“Heroes are not the winners of a Super Bowl or World Series,
nor the box office giants of the theater.  We should reserve our praise of
athletes and celebrities as talent accomplished through dedication and
effort.  Heroes, they’re not.”

“Heroes are not the philanthropists who fund even the most
honorable causes.  While their generosity should be recognized and
appreciated, heroes they’re not.  Heroes are not created by Executive
Order, either.”

“And what about our veterans?  Veterans left the
comforts of homes and their families to serve our country.  They served in
all branches of the military, in wartime and in peace, travelled to points
unknown and unfamiliar.  Veterans courageously served in missions to
secure lives and liberty, always prepared to pay for the noble mission with the
ultimate sacrifice.  Disagree with their cause if you want, but understand
that a veteran’s service has afforded you that option.”

Manny (L) is one of the heroes that visited the author’s classroom

“Veterans are not defined by the word, hero.  Hero is
who they are.”

“And when their service time is complete, veterans return,
without the “hero” welcome of a ticker tape parade and without appearances on
late night talk shows.  Veterans return to their communities and continue
to serve in humble capacities.  They are our neighbors, friends, and
family who never boast or brag.  They walk along side us, not ahead of us,
and appreciate all that was done in their absence.”

“Everyone agrees that these brave men and women should be
thanked and honored.  Everyone agrees that children should know about the
men and women who so proudly serve.  Children are our future, after all,
but how can they tell who our veterans are?  They are not featured on the
covers of trendy magazines or at music concerts.  Children cannot find
them in a crowd–they do not wear their medals or “World’s Greatest
Veteran” t-shirt (where are those shirts, anyway?).”
“We can all help.  If our children are so influenced by
what they see and hear, we must make sure they see and hear stories of
veterans.  I challenge us all to share veteran stories with
children.  My challenge is to veterans, too.  Sharing stories about
value of service and love for country is what children need today in this
terrifying world they must grow up in.  I wrote my book, Veterans: 
Heroes in Our Neighborhood in the hopes that it will help deliver that message.”

“We must return to civility to honor our veterans including
showing respect during our beloved Star Spangled Banner and properly saluting
our flag – the ultimate icon of our country.  There are so many
opportunities to demonstrate to youngsters our dedication to country and
appreciation of veterans – we must seek out, and sometimes create, those
opportunities.  Reading to classes, encouraging youth to march in parades,
meeting scouts, and most importantly sharing stories of veterans!  The
veterans in our communities, family, friends, teachers – veterans that children
already know, must be recognized by children for their service.”


“My grandfather used to tell stories about his World War II
service.  A Navy veteran (and former vaudeville performer), Grandpa would
entertain all the neighbors (children and adult alike) with his stories about
his service time.  He was the first veteran I knew and he instilled in me
my love for country and appreciation of service.  We need to bring that
same patriotism to the children of today.  We have to infuse our
appreciation for veterans into our culture again.  It’s up to us!”

“Few of us will ever witness an act of valor, yet we walk
among heroes who performed them every day – not in military uniforms or wearing
their medals, but while serving our communities as teachers, firefighters, and
mail carriers.”

“They are our veterans, and are truly the heroes in our

Author, Valerie Pfundstein
Hope For The Warriors® will receive 10% of profits from the sale of this book.