Former President Obama Spends Veterans Day With Veterans—With a Message for Us All!

On Barack Obama’s Facebook page, the former president posted a couple of photos along with this message:

Yesterday, I dropped by a service project in Northeast D.C., where a group of veterans were fixing up a public housing project. Just think about that for a moment. On a day dedicated to honoring their sacrifice, these veterans chose to honor their fellow citizens. They chose to roll up their sleeves and ask, “Now, what else can I do?”

Today is a day to honor those who have honored our country with its highest form of service. We owe our veterans our thanks. Our respect. Our freedom. Today, we humbly acknowledge that we can never truly serve our veterans in quite the same way that they served us. But we can try. We can practice kindness. We can volunteer. We can serve. We can respect one another. We can have each other’s backs. We can ask, “Now, what else can I do?”

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President Obama amplified on those thoughts when he sent a message to the Obama Foundation email list lifting up the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and the thousands of people who are doing their part to make positive change in their communities. He wrote:

Today, we humbly acknowledge that we can never truly serve our veterans in quite the same way that they served us. But we can try. We can practice kindness. We can volunteer. We can serve. We can respect one another. We can have each other’s backs….

He said that the housing project they worked on was built in the 1930s as part of President Roosevelt’s Public Works Administration. Its 274 units provided affordable shelter for families trying to get back on their feet after the Great Depression. And today, a group of veterans are fixing it up, working alongside members of their Washington, DC, community.

That is true service. The pure and selfless personal agency that makes us who we are as Americans.

Thousands of you are doing this every day, in your own communities. Folks like Kyle, from Germantown, Maryland. Kyle wrote Michelle and me earlier this year to tell us about Washington DC’s Dog Tag Bakery, where she works. Dog Tag helps support disabled veterans, military spouses, and caregivers during their transitions into civilian life by providing them with valuable work experience. (They also happen to bake, as Kyle puts it, “the most amazing brownie you’ve ever had.”) Kyle told us how inspired she was by her colleagues’ strength and commitment to service. She wrote that we should all “support this transition for those who have sacrificed so much for our country and well being”—and I couldn’t agree more….

Every day, we walk among citizens willing to lay down their lives for strangers like us.

Today, we can show our own love for our country by loving our neighbors as ourselves. By rolling up our sleeves, and asking: “Now, what else can I do?”

May God bless all who served, and still do.

—Barack

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