Dear Friends of Home Base,
In a January 1838 speech in Springfield, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln warned that America’s greatest threat would not come from abroad, our destruction would come from within! Within 25 years, this remarkable prophecy would nearly come true as brother fought brother. Before this Civil War ended nearly 750,000 Americans would be dead, far more than any war fought on foreign soil.
More than 182 years have passed since Lincoln warned us of this threat, but I am struck by the relevance of Lincoln’s message and the cautionary nature of his words. At a time when our nation often feels irreparably divided by politics, race, and class, I share his words with you with a reminder about the meaning behind Veterans Day.
Each Veterans Day, we lay aside our personal concerns to pay tribute to the Americans who have selflessly placed themselves in harm’s way to safeguard our people, values, and freedoms. Since 1776, millions of brave men and women have answered the call to serve, deploying to the darkest corners of the world, shouldering the heaviest burdens, and leaving behind loved ones for months or years on end. War is hell, but it has a unique way of rendering our differences insignificant. In war, we are simply American.
This Veterans Day, I hope we can set aside our differences and stand together to support those who have served. As Lincoln once said, no enemy has ever taken a drink from the Ohio River or made a track on the Blue Ridge Mountains. But this didn’t just happen. Brave men and women have had to step forward and stand between the enemies of our nation and people. Our Veterans have paid the price for our freedoms a thousand times over. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a recent article on Military.com reporting that military suicides are up as much as 20% served as a somber reminder of the increased importance of Home Base’s mission. Despite the new challenges posed by COVID-19, Home Base is committed to providing safe and effective care to as many Veterans, Service Members, and Families as possible.
This Veterans Day we need your help.
In addition to the impact of COVID-19 on our programming, Home Base is currently looking at a significant budget shortfall due to the pandemic. As we honor Veterans this week, I hope you will remember the price they have paid for our collective security and put action behind the words, “Thank You For Your Service.”
You can help us raise awareness of the invisible wounds of war affecting our Veterans, Service Members, and their Families by encouraging friends and family to join us for our “Helping Veterans Heal” Televent on WCVB today until 8:00 PM. You will hear stories from Veterans and their Families who have experienced difficulties as they returned from the battlefronts, and how Home Base gave them hope. Viewers have an opportunity to make donations to Home Base throughout the telethon, and all funds raised go directly to support our mission.
On behalf of our esteemed partners, the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital, and our entire Home Base team, thank you for all that you do to support our organization. And to our nation’s Service Members, Veterans and Families, we stand by you and we stand with you—today, and always. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Your mission is complete, but ours has just begun.
Brigadier General (Ret) Jack Hammond
Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program