Veterans Day Message from Mike

The following is a message from CEO Mike Parks, Rear Admiral, United States Coast Guard (Ret.) for Veterans Day, 2017

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Mike Parks, RADM, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.)

Greetings to the Northeast Ohio American Red Cross Family!!   Yes indeed—winter weather has arrived in our Region—brrrrr!!!  Please be sure to review our recent blog posts on winter safety!

The past couple of years I’ve shared some historical perspectives about Veterans Day.  This year, I had the privilege of speaking to my 14-year-old daughter’s school assembly about the meaning of Veterans Day—the audience ranged from Kindergarten students to parents and teachers.

I found myself modifying my message for this multi-generational group, from defining the term “veteran”; describing the five branches of the Armed Forces; explaining that “freedom isn’t free” and that it has always required sacrifice from those who serve—as well as their families; appreciating and recognizing veterans, including actually engaging them; appropriately honoring our flag and the National Anthem; describing various training requirements; and clearing up the differences between Veterans Day (honoring those that have served), Memorial Day (honoring those that lost their lives in service of our nation), and Armed Forces Day (honoring those currently serving).

Their questions ranged from “Do you get badges in the military?”; “Who’s your boss?”; “Who founded the Coast Guard?”; to “Did you fight in World War I?”  (that last one stung a bit!).

As much as I enjoyed sharing time and some thoughts with these kids and parent/teachers—I think the video they showed at the beginning of the assembly does a tremendous job of explaining the importance of remembering our veterans—and not just on Veterans Day.  Please take two minutes to watch this clip I Fought For You.   To all of you who have served as a member of our Armed Forces—thank you for your service!  And thank you to all of you for all you do to help those in need in Northeast Ohio—each and every day!!  Semper Paratus (Coast Guard Motto—Always Ready)…Mike

CEO’s Veterans Day Message

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Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, Veterans Day Program 2015

By Mike Parks, CEO, American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region, Rear Admiral, U. S. Coast Guard (Ret.)

American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio Family Members:   Yes…it’s Veterans Day and we have Red Cross members representing us in parades and festivities around the country in honor of those who have served our grateful nation.  For those of you who are veterans—thank you for your faithful service.  For those of you who have family members who are or were veterans, thank you for supporting them.  As every person who has worn the uniform of this country will attest—support from family and friends was crucial to their success.    And thank you to all the Red Crossers who support our Servicemen and Servicewomen every day of the year.

Here is a blog post that I thought you might find interesting from the Senior Vice President for the American Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces (SAF), Koby Langley, it really gets to the heart of why we do what we do.

As we pause from our Red Cross duties to reflect on Veterans Day, I thought it fitting to share some historical thoughts with you about one of the American Red Cross’ most distinguished leaders who was also arguably one of the greatest military leaders in our nation’s history, General George C. Marshall:

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2nd Annual City of Cleveland Veterans Day Parade

“By the summer of 1949, President Truman was mulling over means of bringing Marshall back into public service as head of the American Red Cross. There were signs that Basil O’Connor, head of the American Red Cross since 1944, might soon retire. Why not, thought the President, give Marshall that job? It would associate him again with public affairs in a way that carried fewer burdens than had his previous appointments.

Basil O’Connor had been named by President Roosevelt to succeed Norman Davis as Chairman of the Red Cross when Davis died in 1944. O’Connor was very hardworking but had managed to offend and alienate some of the older Red Cross leaders. Many of the disagreements had been smothered during the war, when the Red Cross had given outstanding service to servicemen, refugees, prisoners of war, and others desolated throughout the world.

Part of the trouble came from the apparent domination of the organization in the late thirties by wealthy and socially prominent Eastern-establishment figures on the Red Cross board of governors. Active heads of chapters in other cities and regions complained that they had no voice in operations. Volunteer workers, a highly important part of the Red Cross’s activities, charged that they were not used or involved in decisions. These charges and complaints boiled down to the bitter feeling that a very few people ran the organization.

In 1946, the Red Cross made a decision to create a special committee headed by E. Roland Harriman, Averell Harriman’s brother, a partner in Brown Brothers, Harriman, and manager of the North Atlantic region of the Red Cross during the war. He and his committee members undertook to meet some of the chief complaints of others in the organization, and their proposed changes were approved by Congress and President Truman in the spring of 1947. The President of the United States was to appoint the President, and the board of governors was enlarged and rearranged to give far more representation to the chapters. Chairman O’Connor now became President.

Despite O’Connor’s efforts to stop controversy, sharp criticism persisted. By 1948, it was evident that the organization needed a leader of great stature who had not been associated with the infighting, and who could respond to the claims of all factions without prejudice. O’Connor made it plain that he was ready to step down.

Truman naturally thought of Marshall. His appeals for the European Recovery Program were of the exact kind needed by the American Red Cross. During the war he had sought public support for Red Cross drives, and his war’s-end reports praised the organization’s service to the men of the armed forces and their families. His 1948 speeches for ERP showed his effectiveness in convincing the same types of people that the Red Cross needed. Few were aware of another factor that made him so desirable as O’Connor’s successor. As Pershing’s aide in France after World War I and later in the United States, he came into contact with many Eastern- establishment figures, whose influence was still needed by the Red Cross. He was perhaps the one person who could bridge the gap between the factions…”27280817982_d96f924a01_z

“Marshall set out to eliminate friction, to fire the workers with enthusiasm, to smooth out dissension. In the early months of the year he spent as head of the Red Cross, he was on the road constantly. In the last months, the coming- of the Korean War gave added emphasis to the Blood Bank program, and to morale-building services concerned with the troops and their families, thus gaining added support for overall programs.

The number of personal trips he made surprised even him. Near the end of 1949, he wrote Queen Frederika of Greece, who had asked about his new job, that although he was at Pinehurst for the winter, he would be traveling constantly on Red Cross business from January 15 until March 7, some 20,000 miles. Since taking over in October, he had covered 9,000 miles. In fact, he said, he would be increasingly busy until he took a few days off for rest in August.”    From George C. Marshall: Statesman 1945-1959 by Forrest C. Pogue

This free coffee can’t thank you enough for your service….

…but we can.

Thank you.

As a show of gratitude for their service to our country, many restaurants will be offering free food or drink to our current military members and veterans this Tuesday, November 11. To take part in these offers, don’t forget to bring along your proof of military service which includes and military I.D., Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), a Photograph in uniform, a veterans organization card (like the American Legion or VFW) or other forms of paperwork like discharge papers, etc.

*Please call ahead to verify that your nearest location is participating.

Applebee’s – free meal, Nov. 11, 2014: Last year, Applebee’s served over one million free meals to military veterans and active servicemembers. Applebee’s is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. Visit the link above for more information. Military ID or proof of service required.

Bob Evans, Nov. 11, 2014. Free All you can eat hotcakes. For active duty military and veterans with ID or proof of service.

Carraba’s, Nov. 11, 2014. Free appetizer of your choice for active duty servicemembers and veterans. Military ID or proof of service required.

Chick-fil-A, Nov. 11, 2014. Participating locations are offering a free meal to all veterans and those currently serving. ID required. Please call ahead to verify.

Chili’s – free meal, Tuesday, Nov. 11 2014. Chili’s is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of one of 7 meals during the dinner hour, or any lunch combo during lunch. Offer only available at participating Chili’s in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service.

Denny’s, Nov. 11. Free Build Your Own Grand Slam® on Tuesday, Nov. 11, from 5 a.m. to noon for all active, inactive, and retired military personnel. Participating locations only. Please call ahead.

Einstein Bros Bagels, Nov. 11, 2014. Free coffee at participating locations. Available to all active duty members and veterans with ID or proof of service.

Friendly’s, Nov. 11, 2014. Free breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Offer available for active military and veterans with ID or discharge papers. Participating locations only.

IHOP, Nov. 11, 2014, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free Red, White and Blue pancakes, or Red, White and Blue pancakes combo plate including eggs, bacon and hashed browns. Participating locations only. Please call ahead to verify participation.

Krispy Kreme – Free doughnut and small coffee, Nov. 11, 2014. Available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees, & veterans. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating.

Lone Star Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014. All veterans and active duty military will be eligible for a free Starter. ID or proof of service required. Please call ahead for verification.

LongHorn Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014. Complimentary Texas Tonion and non-alcoholic beverage. Offer good for Veterans and active-duty military members. Proof of service required.

Max & Erma’s, November 11, 2014. Participating Max & Erma’s locations are offering military members and veterans a free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo. Dine-in only. Call ahead to verify participation. ID or proof of service required. Visit above link for more information.

Menchie’s, Nov. 11, 2014. All veterans and current servicemembers will receive a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt on Veterans Day.

Outback Steakhouse – Nov. 11, 2014. Outback Steakhouse is honoring America’s military veterans by offering active duty military and veterans a free Bloomin’ Onion and a non-alcoholic beverage. This offer is available to Military Personnel and veterans with ID. Also receive 15% off your purchase from Nov. 12-Dec 31, 2014.

Perkin’s Restaurant & Bakery, Nov. 11, 2014. Participating restaurants are offering current servicemembers and veterans a free Magnificent Seven meal. Beverage not included. Call ahead to verify participation. ID or proof of service required.

Red Lobster – Monday, Nov. 10 – Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. Free Appetizer on Veterans Day with military ID or proof of service. Vets may choose from a select list of appetizers.

Red Robin, Nov. 11, 2014. Free Red’s Tavern Double and Bottomless Steak Fries for all Red Robin guests with a military ID or proof of service. Visit link for more information.

Ruby Tuesday’s, Nov. 11, 2014. Free appetizer at participating locations, proof of service required.

Shoney’s, Nov. 11, 2014. Free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty servicemembers. Dine-in only, Proof of Service required.

Starbucks, Nov. 11, 2014. Free tall brewed coffee for active duty, veterans, and their spouses. Participating stores only. Please call ahead.

Texas Roadhouse, Nov. 11, 2014. Free lunch event to honor the men and women of our armed forces. Choose from one of 10 free meals, plus sides and a drink. Offer good for All veterans – including all active, retired or former U.S. military. ID Required. Dine-in only. Call ahead to verify times and locations.

T.G.I. Friday’s, Nov. 11, 2014. Free lunch for all current military members and veterans from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Valid ID or proof of service required. Dine-on only at participating locations. Be sure to contact your local T.G.I Friday’s for details.

The Olive Garden, Free entrée, Nov. 11, 2014. Offer good for veterans and active duty military; proof of service required. See link for details.

Tim Hortons, Nov. 11, 2014 – all US locations are offering a free donut to all active duty servicemembers and veterans. No purchase necessary. Proof of service required.

Also, don’t forget to mark your calendar for this one:

Golden Corral – Free meal, Monday Nov. 17, 2014 (5pm – 9pm): The 14th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation Monday dinner will is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Monday dinner. For more information visit http://www.goldencorral.com/military/.

For updates to this list, please visit http://themilitarywallet.com/veterans-day-free-meals-and-discounts/