July 18, 2024
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In the Spirit of Thanksgiving, Our Parents Deserve a Medal

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and showing our appreciation, so we should reflect upon the fact that we often appreciate the famous heroes in the headlines. We fail to recognize the everyday heroes in our families—like our parents, spouses, siblings and children. We all know that they are incredibly special and inspire us, but do we ever truly honor them?

Our parents gave us life, raised us, sacrificed for us and cared for us through difficult days and sleepless nights. Many of us do our part in saying the words “thanks,” but words are fleeting. They fly away as fast as autumn leaves. Flowers, greeting cards and the usual gifts also have little lasting impact.

Unfortunately, for many of us, we often realize once it is too late that we have not honored our parents enough. We need to do more, and we need to do it now. But what should we do?

My parents were my greatest heroes. They each survived the horrors of the Holocaust through daily acts of enormous courage. They both risked their lives time and time again to obtain food for their families and for strangers. Despite the many tragedies they endured, they remained happy, optimistic and thankful for every blessing they received.

When my parents passed away, I suddenly realized that I had never fully shown them how much I appreciated their love, strength and care. I should have given them an unforgettable honor—a precious medal for my precious parents—but there were none to give parents then.

Since ancient times, medals have been the physical, tangible symbols of honor and respect. In the past, very few people have been fortunate to receive medals—mainly soldiers, police officers, firefighters and others who have shown outstanding courage and service. However, there are others who also deserve medals—our everyday heroes. I strongly believe we should award medals to our family heroes, especially to our parents.

I found it especially meaningful to give my late parents the medals they deserved. I arranged for the medals to be made. Now my parents’ medals stand beside their photos in a special place in my home. They will be there forever.

Honoring our personal heroes brings our families closer together. It teaches us about the importance of appreciation and gratitude. This Thanksgiving, as we sit around the table with our families and reflect upon all of the wonderful heroes in our lives, let us remember to show our appreciation for our parents in a tangible, unforgettable way.

By Joseph Stechler

Joseph Stechler is the founder of The American Heroes Society LLC. The Society was created to encourage the recognition of the everyday heroes in America’s families.

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