To my dad, 96 years-old, a veteran of WWII, the greatest generation, love and prayers. Thank you for joining the fight at a young age and defeating the enemy!

To my brother, Captain Gary Marquardt who lost his life during the Vietnam conflict, you are missed every day!

To the rest of the members of my family who served in several wars and conflicts, your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed. We are especially concerned about those of you who suffer post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury from your time at war or during your service and pray that the federal government will work out the problems with your health care. You deserve quality care and access to treatment.

Such sacrifices our veterans made and continue to make to provide us our freedom. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! This weekend, we send messages to all our veterans honoring your service and wishing you a blessed life.

What else can we do to let a veteran know they are appreciated this weekend?  First, remember, this doesn’t have to be a one-time appreciation. Let veterans know throughout the year that their service means so much to our country.

Hug a veteran. We just celebrated hug a lawyer day! How about a veteran?  If a hug feels like too much, shake a hand and thank the veteran for their service.

Donate to charities that help veterans. Contact the USOBlue Star Families or Operation Gratitude to find ways to help.

Volunteer your time in a VA hospitalClick here to see what you can do and where. You can bring smiles and cheer to many lonely veterans by simply visiting and spending time.

Support Fisher House, a non-profit “home” that helps military families with lodging during hospitalization at military medical facilities. You can bring toys, homemade goodies and get your children involved in bringing kindness to military families who are receiving medical care.

Ask a veteran to share their story. Learn about their lives and sacrifices. Listen to their stories of war and bravery. Most want to talk about some experience they found rewarding or in line with the mission to keep our country free. When we visit my dad at his apartment, he is surrounded by many men and women who served in a number of wars. Their stories are fascinating and they love to share them.

To all our men and women who have bravely fought and served, thank you! Your sacrifice and service are deeply appreciated and the reason we are remain a free country. On this day, we salute you!

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