By issuing its “Declaration of Independence” on July 4, 1776, the United States claimed independence from England. Fourth of July wouldn’t become an official federal holiday until 1941, but that hasn’t kept Americans from celebrating Independence Day since the 18th century and the American Revolution. It’s a given that the holiday will look different this year, with the pandemic prompting many cities and counties to cancel fireworks displays, parades and other festivities. We’re encouraged to stay safe and minimize risk by avoiding large groups, continuing the habit of social distancing, wearing a mask in public, and practicing hand hygiene.
Here’s what won’t change: We can still enjoy the day. We can still celebrate by viewing televised or online fireworks displays like tomorrow’s 40th annual PBS broadcast of A Capitol Fourth. Certainly, we can embrace a fresh appreciation for our nation’s freedoms and honor veterans who fought in a range of battles: World War II (about 325,000 vets are alive today, reports the Department of Veterans Affairs), the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and Operations Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF).
Our duty as Americans is to honor those who have made sacrifices to preserve our freedom and independence. This duty often is forgotten in the usual frenzy of festivities, but this pandemic year gives us the opportunity to contemplate the true meaning of Independence Day. In addition to honoring veterans, we can also pay respect to the countless unsung heroes — paid and family caregivers, nurses, doctors, social workers, hospital workers, pharmacists — and so many others who serve our veterans not only on this holiday but every day of the year.
At Amada Senior Care, we are honored to be in the position to care for those who have given so much. Our goal is to provide exceptional and compassionate caregiving to enable clients to live safely at home and as independently as possible. More than a few Amada franchise owners were motivated to pursue caregiving because of a loved one who served. Many more franchise owners continue to be inspired by the courage and commitment of veterans under their care. Continue reading to learn why:
“Helping people has always been my passion, especially working with our veterans,” says Glen Schecter of Amada Ventura County. “My dad was a WWII veteran and worked as a veteran’s advocate for more than 30 years. Thanks to his influence, helping veterans and seniors has been part of my life both personally and in business.”
Glen’s dad, Mort Schecter, was a tail gunner during the war, serving in the Army Air Corps from 1942-45. According to this article, he flew 35 combat missions in France and Germany aboard a B-24 Liberator.
Mort and his crew pose behind the B-24 bomber in which they flew during WWII.
As a member of Jewish War Veterans and the American Legion, Mr. Schecter would spend 25 years as a volunteer three times each week at the Sepulveda Veterans Ambulatory Care Center. On Nov. 3, 2012 at the age of 89, he received the Veteran of the Year Award from the County of Los Angeles Department of Military and Veterans Affairs during a ceremony at the Rose Bowl.
Mort Schecter (in brown jacket) receives the Veteran of the Year Award from the County of Los Angeles Department of Military and Veterans Affairs during a Nov. 3, 2012, ceremony at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
“I asked my dad ‘Why did you pick that position?’” Glen said. “He told me jokingly, ‘So I can go back and take a nap when I needed to.’”
Mort Schecter also was awarded the Legion of Honour medal (the highest decoration bestowed in France) that was presented personally by the Counsul General of France. Mr. Schecter passed away at age 93 in 2016, having helped hundreds of veterans.
Glen Schecter, VP of Client Relations
Amada Senior Care of Ventura County (CA)
“John told me of the difficulties he had to deal with caring for the men he led and protecting them with his own body,” said Bob Schricker of Amada Nashville about his client (and now close friend) John Tucker. “He said that the way he deals with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is that he had to do something that was bigger than him after he returned from Vietnam. He felt he would have been a suicide statistic like many other veterans if it weren’t for his grandmother’s earlier guidance as he was growing up. It is an honor to help John.”
Bob Schricker visits with Vietnam veteran John Tucker.
“I am a Vietnam veteran as well and we developed a friendship right away,” added Bob, who served as an Army drill instructor. John is confined to a wheelchair due to arthritic knees, and Bob was able to obtain medical equipment from the VA to assist with his mobility around his home. Bob installed a carpet runner so that he could wheel about easier. Bob also was successful in arranging local medical care for John who, although he can drive, was having difficulty making the long drive to the Nashville VA Medical Center.
John, who will soon be 77, has gained his upper body strength back since his hospitalization two years ago. He is featured on the Wall of Heroes at the Veterans Clinic in Gallatin. About a year ago, John and Bob were guests on “PTSD Warrior Stories,” a YouTube series by veteran and country singer Chris Turner.
“We are honored to serve this patriot,” said Kevin Fehr, owner of Amada Nashville and founder of CommuniServe, a nonprofit that raises funds to help pay for services for veterans.
Kevin Fehr, Owner, and Bob Schricker, Caregiver and Director of Community Relations
Amada Senior Care of Nashville
“At Amada Senior Care of WV, we are so honored to have many veterans under our care. THREE of our clients are 99-year-old WWII veterans! Each of these veterans had outstanding military careers and it has been so enlightening to hear their stories of their heroic service.
Mr. Freeland is a Marine Corps veteran.
Mr. Freeland served in the Marine Corps and was a member of the Edson Raiders from 1940-44. This was a special unit for amphibious light infantry operations, typically landing in rubber boats and operating behind the lines. Mr. Freeland was a platoon leader who was present at the Battle of Iwo Jima. He will turn 100 in September and is still healthy enough to live at home alone with just a little help from the VA and Amada Senior Care.
Mr. Dumont served in the Navy Air Corps.
We started service earlier this year with Mr. Dumont on his 99th birthday! He served in the Navy Air Corps from 1938 to 1942. After his military service, he went on to a long career with Union Carbide and is still a highly active member of the Putnam County community. He was flooded with calls on his birthday and continues to have many caring visitors call and stop by to check on him.”
Kari Peyatte, Owner
Amada Senior Care of West Virginia
Ways to Honor Vets and Celebrate this Fourth of July
Treasure your independence, the independence of others and sacrifices made by our veterans this Fourth of July. Here are easy ways to do that:
- Take Time to Reflect on what independence means to you or what it meant to veterans who made sacrifices for it.
- Read up on history to learn about the Revolutionary War and other conflicts our veterans have fought in to protect freedom.
- Say “thank you” to any veteran you know or meet.
- Listen to a veteran’s story with patience and attention. Let them share their experience, hardship and lessons to a kind, listening ear.
- Hold a moment of silence with your family or friends at your Fourth of July get-together to reflect on fallen warriors and the value of independence.
- Volunteer at a local institution that benefits veterans in need.
- Donate to an organization that provides financial assistance to veterans.
“In Appreciation of Independence, Our Beloved Veterans and Unsung Heroes,” written by Michelle Flores, Amada contributor, with some content updated from “Treasuring Independence by Caring for Our Veterans,” by Michelle Mendoza, Amada Blog contributor.