To All District Deputies, Exalted Rulers, Officers and Members:
November is Veterans Remembrance Month. The 11th day of November is set aside by our Nation to honor our Nation's Veterans. But for our Order, through our Veterans Programs, we honor them every day of the year. Many years ago our Order made a pledge that: "So long as there are Veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them." This pledge holds true today as it did many years ago when these words were first spoken.
There are many ways we can honor and support our Veterans. I encourage each of you to renew your commitment to our Veterans by participating in the Adopt-A-Veteran Program. Invite the Veterans into your Lodge for a Thanksgiving dinner or lunch, spend time with them by visiting a Veterans' Hospital. Your visit will prove to them that they have not been forgotten. Honor our Veterans by contributing to the Elks Veterans Memorial Building Trust. I am confident you will be able to think of many more ways in which you can express your thanks and gratitude for the sacrifices they have made for our Country's freedoms. It is because of the Veterans of the past, who have sacrificed so much, that we are able to enjoy the bounty and freedoms of the present.
November begins our Holiday Season. Let us not forget that there are those in our military today that will not be able to be with family and loved ones. They will be in far off lands or standing guard on our Nation's soil. Honor them by keeping them in your thoughts and prayers for their safety and well being.
This a time of family gatherings, fellowship, and happiness. As we sit down to our Thanksgiving table we should give thanks to our Creator for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. And, what better way to honor our Veterans than to be joyful and happy with family and loved ones during this holiday time. Their service has given us the opportunity to enjoy these happy times. Let us never take their sacrifices of the freedoms they gained for us for granted.
I would like to leave you with the following, whose author is unknown:
"It's the soldier, not the reporter, who gives us freedom of the press.
"It's the soldier, not the poet, who give us freedom of speech.
"It's the soldier, not the campus organizer, who allows us to demonstrate.
"It's the soldier who salutes the Flag, serves the Flag, and whose coffin is draped with the Flag that allows the protester to burn the Flag!
"If not for the soldier, there would be no land of the free.
There is no better time to practice our motto and prove once again that "Elks Care - Elks Share." Lucia joins me in wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Our very best regards to all and God Bless.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Louis J. Grillo Grand Exalted Ruler