by Alison Bonaguro
Veterans Day is always a chance for us to celebrate all of the veterans in all of our lives. But let’s not keep those celebrations to ourselves. Let’s show them off a little.
Like Chris Young did on Wednesday morning (Nov. 11). Young and the USAA (United Services Automobile Association) have partnered to encourage more of that kind of public acknowledgement of their gratitude to the nearly 18 million living US military veterans. They are urging Americans to step up and show their support with the third annual #HonorThroughAction challenge.
Here’s how the challenge works: You draw the letter ‘V’ on the palm of your hand, along with the initials of the veteran(s) in your life, snap a photo, and share it through social media using #HonorThroughAction with a challenge to others to show their appreciation this Veterans Day.
In a phone call with Young the day before his post went up, he told me he wanted to be part of honoring veterans because his sister Dot is a military veteran. He said that she is part of the reason he was inspired to take part in this year’s challenge. Dot and her husband both served in the Marines Corps. “I’m very excited to partner with USAA,” Young told me. “This is a huge thank you not just to my sister and my brother in law — who both served in the Marine Corps — but to all the living US military veterans.”
“Dot is always the first person I think of on Veterans Day. We’ve been inseparable since we were kids,” he said. “We are only 13 months apart. And we’re still very, very close. I love her so much, and knowing that she served and how proud she is of that, it makes me proud be to be her brother and to take a moment to celebrate her on Veterans Day.”
Young also admitted that still to this day he is in awe of how smart Dot is. Smart enough to do things he never even imagined when they were growing up. “It blows my mind that she knows how to work on helicopters. It’s incredibly impressive.
“Growing up, of the two of us, I was the music nerd and she was super athletically gifted. When she graduated from boot camp, she won the leatherneck award for highest physical score — of guys and girls. She’s always been incredible athletically gifted as well as really smart. So it does not surprise me that she ended up working on military aircraft,” he added, “because she’s one of those hyper-intelligent people that never talks about it. She never wants to be the center of attention.”
This #HonorThroughAction challenge is not only Young’s chance to partner with the USAA to get the word out out, he said, but it also gives him a chance to take a good long look at somebody he’s close to and celebrate that. “And to take the whole day to do that.”
To see all the other posts in the challenge, search #HonorThroughAction on social media or visit the USAA site here. And if you post your own V on your palm, tag Young in your posts so he can see the ripple effect in action.
Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.