Acknowledging those who've gone before us

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. -- As some of you may or not know, Sunday, Sept. 8, was National Grandparents Day. If you're like me, you may not have had the chance to celebrate this special day with your Grandparents in person. This doesn't mean you cannot still embrace the opportunity to make a big difference in their day or the day of another one of our community elders.

If your loved ones are still here with you, please remember to take time to connect with them, ensuring that they know how much they are loved and respected. Tap into their wisdom and experience, and revisit the heritage and culture unique to your family.

It wasn't long after joining the Air Force, that I, along with my father, realized my Grandpa felt a special connection with me as a fellow service member. My experiences in the Air Force created a connection with my Grandpa that brought out many memories of his time in the Army he had never mentioned to other members of the family. To this day, we still share this bond as I share my most recent experiences with him.

For those of you who may no longer have grandparents that are still with you, you can still make a great impact in an elderly person's life. Marian McQuade, the founder of Grandparents Day, originally championed the day in support of those living in nursing homes. Take the time this week to visit a local nursing home, the veteran's hospital, or an elderly family friend. While at the commissary or base exchange, take the initiative to thank a Veteran for their service. You've most likely been thanked or approached by them; it's your turn to take the initiative.

After setting aside some of your time this week, you may never know just how much you may have brightened your loved one's (or a stranger's) day, but I am almost certain you will see it in their smile or hear it in their voice. For those Veterans you've reached out to, you will let them know that they are still a part of the everlasting brotherhood and sisterhood that is service.